#style

Being a Black Woman

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Bodysuit- Wishlist (Similar)

Photography & Styling by. Bernadette Mira

and Garrett Hagen

“The most disrespected person in America is the black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the black woman. The most neglected person in America is the black woman.” -Malcolm X

 

I have never seen myself as worthy or even as a human being when it comes to living in this body of mine. I am always curious how privilege people feel not having that kind of weight on them. Being a black woman…wait, being a woman in general is hard enough as it is, BUT when you’re a black woman it’s a completely different story.

It’s like all the cards have been taken away from you even before you could start the game. We have to work ten times as harder as anyone else and yet we’re always seen as being angry. Words that run through my mind every time I step outside are ANGRY, CRAZY, HOOD RAT, SLUT, UGLY, STUPID. I wish I could say that I haven’t been called any of those things. Yet, people who I even considered family and friends have treated me like complete strangers do.

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My name is Bernadette Mira Hagen and I don’t feel like I matter. I am judge solely by skin color and gender. I’m never judge by my actions or character. It hurts. The pain is indescribable, but I will try to put into words. I remember going in for an interview. It was for a photography job and the person I spoke with was a white older male. As soon as he asked and made a joke about the type of jobs I have had in the past, I should have just walked away, but I didn’t. He looked at one of my food images which consisted of having beignets and cotton flowers, he then asked with a grin on his face, “So, you pick cotton for a living?” I could feel the tears from past years of growing up in a mainly white community start to swell in my throat. I kept it down and swallowed it. I remained silent and I suppose I was ‘polite and professional.’  After the interview, I sent him an email saying that I didn’t appreciate the things he said to me. His response is what you would expect, “I was just trying to help you, but never mind. That’s your loss. I’m great. I hope you feel better now.”

Yes, there are times that I am angry, but most of the time I’m disappointed and sad with how cruel people can be, especially to people they don’t even know. I grew up as I’m sure most black women have grown up as feeling like they’re ugly and not worth anything, except as being an object. I went through having my hair relaxed as a kid and having my hair break off.  I’ve been through having white kids calling me “Nigger!” “You’re ugly!” “What’s wrong with your hair?” “What’s wrong with your lips?” “You can’t see Bernadette! It’s black in here!” I have heard all the black jokes told by white people. I have been turned down from jobs because of my skin color and gender. I have been made to feel less than most of my life and I will probably have to deal with that pain for the rest of it.

BUT…that’s not me. I am so much more than someone bringing down my worth. I am so much more than being judge based on how I look or where I came from. Not many people give me a chance, but trust me, they’re missing out on one of the best people out there. I have to get up everyday knowing that there might be someone who brings me down based on my skin color and gender. Yet, I keep on getting back up to face that pain, to face those that are constantly in hate and feel the need to bring me down. I am worthy. I am beautiful, I am strong as hell, I am intelligent, I am damn talented and I’m not going anywhere.

 

“There is a kind of strength that is almost frightening in Black women. It’s as if a steel rod runs right through the head down to the feet.” -Maya Angelou 

 

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West African Peanut Soup

Serves 8-10

Ingredients 

sea salt and pepper to season

2 large sweet potatoes diced

1 carrot diced 

one medium size onion finely diced

4 large garlic cloves

1/2 tsp. of minced ginger 

2 tbsp. tomato paste

can of puree tomatoes 

can of chickpeas

handful of chopped spinach

1 cup of diced purple cabbage 

1-2 cups of chicken broth

3 cups of water

1/2-1 cup of natural peanut butter

1 tsp. of smoked paprika 

1/2 tsp. of red pepper spice

1/2 tsp. of garlic powder

1 tsp. of turmeric powder 

Toppings

chopped peanuts (optional)

minced fresh ginger (optional)

chopped green scallions

 

Directions:

  1. In a big pot and I mean big, saute the onion and garlic on medium heat until they become translucent. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Then add the chopped sweet potatoes, carrots and ginger. Stirring together occasionally while being careful not to burn the ingredients, seasoning lightly with salt and pepper for about 10 minutes.
  3. After 10 minutes add tomato paste and stir together until well combined.
  4. Then add a can tomatoes, chickpeas and season lightly. Cook on medium heat for five minutes while occasionally stirring.
  5. Then add spinach, cabbage and chicken broth. After adding the broth, you may add 3-5 cups of water (depending on the thickness you want from the soup) and peanut butter.
  6. Combine the ingredients together and add the rest of the spices. After adding the rest of the spices bring to a boil.
  7. Once it has come to a boil lower it back down to low to medium heat and cover slightly with the top. Let the soup cook for at least 45 minutes to an hour. Feel free to season with more spices depending on how hot you want it.
  8. After cooking serve the soup with chopped peanuts, fresh minced ginger and chopped scallions.

 

Enjoy! and most importantly, love yourself and your worth. You matter.

Much love,

                                                                                                    Bernadette 

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Crispy Glazed Salmon

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Blouse- Uniqlo|Eyeshadow- Revlon

Photography & Styling by. Bernadette Mira

 

There are times that I forget how little I spend with my husband. I mean he’s my best friend and I feel like we never see each other sometimes. I spend most of my days working from home and taking care of the place while he works a 10-7 job. I know this is probably common for most couples, but at times I can’t help but feel “Are we the only ones that have to deal with this?”

 

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The time we spend together, I try to cherish as much as possible. Obviously, that doesn’t happen ALL the time because, there are the late night fights, making dinner at a un godly hour like 10 pm after kickboxing. Then after all is said and done, we normally ‘try’ to get to bed by 11 p.m. So, the time we spend together during the week is usually about two hours. I should consider ourselves lucky because, there are probably couples out there that don’t even see each other at all. I suppose it reminds me too much of the past, when we had to be away from each other for about half a year, because of family issues I had to deal with. It wasn’t a good time in my life and I never want to experience it again.

Anyway, this past week we got to spend more time with each other and I must say it was literally the happiest I have been for in a while. We were able to go over to Brooklyn early in the morning, walk around, chat and eat a delicious breakfast at Peter Pan donuts.  Being able to just walk around Brooklyn without being pushed are having to stop because of a big crowd, was at the same time weird but extremely refreshing. Other than just doing fun things, we got to talk to each other about what has been bothering us. Communication is very important to me when it comes to being in a relationship and also the will to listen and to keep on trying for one another. I know that my husband and I forget about these things at times, but we always come back to what is important to us.  I’m not sure what I’m trying to get at here, but I guess what I’m trying to say is that I dearly love my husband because not only is he my partner/lover but he is my best friend. We keep on trying for one another and I will always value that.

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Crispy Glazed Salmon

Serves 1-2

Ingredients

1/2 pound of salmon with skin

2 garlic cloves

2-4 tbsp of olive oil

sea salt to season

Glaze

(make before)

1 tbsp. of ponzu sauce

1 tsp. of honey

1/4 tsp. of red pepper flakes

juice from half an orange (small)

1/4 tsp. of black pepper

Optional 

broiled oranges

Utensils 

sharp knife to cut slits into salmon

non stick skillet

fish spatula or regular 

 

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Salmon

Directions:

  1. To prepare the Salmon: Gently cut 4-5 medium to long slits horizontally on the skin side of the salmon. Once the slits are present, gently rub sea salt or kosher salt in between the slits. Then let it rest.
  2. Heat a non stick skillet (see notes) on medium heat add two garlic cloves along with 2 tbsp. of olive oil.
  3. Once the skillet is heated, gently add the salmon skin side down and facing away from you so oil doesn’t splash.
  4. Season the flesh side of the salmon with salt.
  5. Do not flip the salmon until it has cooked at least half way. Once it is about half way cooked, glaze the top of the salmon with the ponzu/citrus glaze. (You may make this beforehand.)
  6. Once it has been glazed, flip the salmon and cook for about 3-5 minutes.
  7. Gently remove the salmon and set on prepared dish to serve. You may serve this with whatever you like. I made some broiled oranges to add extra citrus, but the salmon would be also delicious with a side salad or couscous.

 

Notes: Please, please, use a non stick skillet. It will make your life so much easier  working with the salmon. That is all.

Enjoy! and happy eating!

Much love,

                                     Bernadette 

 

 

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Sunset Pink- Blood Orange Cocktail

Chriselle dress2

Asymmetrical Trench Dress- Chriselle x J.O.A. Collection| Trousers- Uniqlo| Tank- &Other Stories| Earrings- &Other Stories 

Photography and Styling by. Bernadette Mira

So far this year has been an interesting one. I’ve realized that I have spent more time stressing about things that are out of my control, rather than taking care of myself and focusing on the positive things in my life. As humans, I find we tend to focus on the things that we don’t have. Constantly craving for more and never being satisfied with what we have. Obviously, I shouldn’t/can’t speak for everyone out there, but it is something I have noticed in myself and it something that I want to change.

I am always trying to strive for success and this year, I have been turning my wheels by always applying/searching for jobs. Even applying for jobs that I don’t even REALLY want to do. What sense does that even make? I’m currently shaking my head at myself and letting myself know, it’s okay to take a breath once and a while.

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One of the most important things that I feel that I have put on the wayside when it comes to constantly applying for jobs and searching for ways to make money, is putting time into my blog and into my cooking. I seriously miss it! I miss taking the time going out to markets, especially the fresh market at Union Square NY. It’s always buzzing with people and the atmosphere is always sweet with the smells of fresh produce and goods. I finally took a day and just sat myself down and said, “Bernadette, grab that blood orange over there and make something!” So, I made something.

 

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Blood Orange Cocktail

Serves 1-2 

Ingredients 

1-2 oz of blood orange simple syrup

3/4 oz of orange juice

1/2 oz of sparkling seltzer water

1/2-3/4 oz of good gin

Served with a big ice cube 

Blood orange simple syrup

juice from 1-2 small blood oranges

1/2 cup of water

2-3 tbsp. of granulated sugar 

 

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Directions:

  1. To make blood orange simple syrup (can make the day before) add the juice from two blood oranges, water and sugar into a medium sauce pan on low to medium heat.
  2.  Then, stir in the sugar until it dissolves and let it set on low to medium heat for five minutes.
  3.  After creating the simple syrup, pour it into a small container and store in the fridge until you’re ready to use.
  4.  To create the cocktail add the ice cube first, simple syrup, orange juice, gin and then seltzer water last. After seeing the sunset effect the cocktail makes, gently stir together. Then simply enjoy and take time to take care of yourself.

 

Much love,

                                Bernadette 

 

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Overnight Oats and learning French…slowly

 

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Blouse- &Other Stories (similar)| Shorts- Thrifted (similar)

The Penguin French Phrase Book

Photography by. Bernadette Mira

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I have been trying to learn French about a year and half now…on and off. I know, that isn’t the way to actually progress, but I get bored easily. All jokes aside, I do, sincerely want to learn how to speak French fluently. My question is though, how does anyone successfully learn a new language?

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I want to convince my husband by saying, “Hey honey, I think we need to take a lonnnng trip to Paris so I can finally learn French.” We all know that isn’t going to go over well. WHO even has the funds to do something like that? Maybe, some rich white, eat pray love, woman who during her down time, just lays in the pile of money that she has. I digress, I guess I just have to whip myself back into gear. I need to be putting 100% effort in everyday…when I can, whether that be slapping sticky notes on food or appliances to remember the word pomme for apple.

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Speaking of food, this is making me hungry and I need to start preparing breakfast for tomorrow. I try to make meal prep as easy, and painless as possible. So, today I am sharing my recipe for overnight oats. It makes getting up in the morning a breeze and actually enjoyable. You can sit back and eat your oats while you try to learn some french…which hopefully, I’ll be doing.

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Pear Overnight Oats

Serves 1

Ingredients

1 cup of Irish style oats

1 cup of almond milk

1/2 tsp. of honey

1/8 tsp. of turmeric

1/4 tsp. of cinnamon

dash of nutmeg

half of a pear finely diced 

 

Directions:

  1. Add 1 cup of oats and seasonings to a medium size bowl or cup.
  2. Then add the honey, almond milk and diced pear.
  3. With a spoon stir up the oat mixture until fully incorporated.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge overnight and enjoy the next morning!

 

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Longing for kitten… (a blackberry fig jam recipe) 

             

Photography by. Bernadette Mira

I grew up with the sheer luck of having at least seven cats at different times through out my childhood. Living in the country these cats tended to roam around the house and in the outside world, which led to most of them ghosting away and never coming back. Yet, there was always another cat to take it’s spot. All of those cats weren’t officially mine and at times I longed for a cat to be only mine that I could take care of.

Yet, there was one exception. A cat we had named Cheeseball who belonged to my middle sister, seemed to grow fond of me over the years. Like my estranged family they ignored most of the pets we had around the house so I watched over Cheeseball like he was my own.

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I remember taking photo shoots of Cheeseball, like he was a dashing model posing for every shot. Surprisingly he was quiet patient when it came to me taking photos of him. There were many mornings that I would come out of the bathroom shower and have him greet me at my feet. But if I didn’t pay every bit attention to him he would bite at my legs until I gave him a pat or kiss.

After moving away to go to musical theatre school in New York when I was 20, Cheeseball ended up running off to the neighbor’s house, because my family didn’t take care of him. Every time I would come back home to visit I would long for him to come over to the house, yet he never would. There were many moments when he would just stare at me from afar. It was hard watching him from a distance and not being able to reach him. I miss him still. I’m sure he is off in cat land somewhere chasing the sun and eating to his heart’s content.

I still long for a cat though. A kitten to raise. Maybe it’s because I can’t have children…? I don’t know, but I hope that I can be a mother figure to a kitten one day and give it all the affection in the world. Taking care of something and watching it grow is the most joyful I have ever been.

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Blackberry Fig Jam

Makes one 16 oz. can

Ingredients

1 cup of blackberries

2/3 cup of finely diced figs (about 3 figs)

3 tbsp and 1/2 tsp. of granulated sugar 

1 cup of water 

1 tsp. of cinnamon

1/4 tsp. of nutmeg

1/4 tsp. of coriander 

1/2 tsp. of lemon zest

juice from half of a lemon

1/4 cup of cold water

2 tsp. of cornstarch 

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Directions:

  1. In a medium sauce pan, add the blackberries, figs, sugar and water and set on medium to high heat till it starts to simmer and the sugar dissolves. Stirring  frequently for about five minutes.
  2. Lower the temperature to low heat and add the spices and lemon zest.
  3. Stir for two minutes until the spices dissolve.
  4. Raise the temperature again to medium heat and add the lemon zest. Let the jam simmer for ten minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. After ten minutes, add 2 tsp. of cornstarch to the cup of cold water and stir completely until the starch dissolves. Then add the starch mixture to the jam.
  6. Stir the mixture into the jam. After a while the jam will start to thicken. Continue to stir for five minutes or so.
  7. After five minutes set the jam mixture off to the side to cool for ten minutes.
  8. After ten minutes, use the immersion blender and blend until the chunks of blackberries have liquified.
  9. Gently pour the jam into a heat safe container, such as a maison jar and close with a tight lid and set in the fridge to cool.

Enjoy this jam along side a creamy hunk of brie and toast.

 

030cheeseball and i

 

 

 

Almond Oatmeal Cookies

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Photography by. Connor Langford(Left) and Bernadette Mira(Right)

Model: Zoe Hoad

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This past weekend was a weekend that I had been dreading for a while. The week before Mother’s Day was a trying one. I couldn’t keep my head together. I felt all over the place and noticed myself slipping back into past negative patterns. To forewarn any of my readers that have a past of child sexual abuse, sibling sexual abuse, etc. and are triggered by such things, please don’t read further. I want this to be a safe place to come to and I wouldn’t want to harm you in any way.

Not to be dramatic, but at times I do see my past as a very unfortunate, sad story that should be told through film. It is one of those stories that make you do a double take. At times I find it unbelievable myself and I always question if there was anything else that I could have done, but the answer is always no. None of it was my fault or responsiblity.

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The Marshman’s…

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There was this old photograph that my adoptive father took of all five of us children. I was a baby at the time and I think they just had me for maybe a few weeks or so. I was laid in the middle of my childhood blanket while the other children poked my belly and touched my face and surrounded every part of me. That picture truly describes the experience I felt living with them. Living in the Marshman household, dealing with sexual abuse from two of my siblings for four years, I felt trapped.

The moment that could have probably shifted my life entirely was when my adoptive mother saw my brother on top of me. After that moment, she knew for years that I was getting sexually abused, but said nothing. When I decided to finally come to terms with what I had been through as child, I went to her first. Her response was simply put, “I figured that was going on.”

The word ‘RUN’ should have come to me, but it didn’t. I didn’t want to be alone, so for years I tried to get my adoptive family to understand what I had been through. They still made excuses for my abusers and their actions. Such things like, “Your selfish and a bitch.” “It was a three age year difference, so it doesn’t matter that it happened.” “Come back in 20 years!” were said through the six-year course of me trying to get them to understand and be supportive.

Yes, all of them let me down, but my adoptive mother let me down the most. Being abandoned by the woman who gave birth to me, still left scars, but in a way I can disregard her, because I never knew her. Yet, having my adoptive mother abandoned me when she saw me get abused, hurts me to the core.

Not all Mothers are wonderful. Not all parents should be parents. Mother’s Day and Father’s Day shouldn’t be celebrated. We honestly should celebrate the decent parents out there every single day that we can. Acknowledging the good out there is important and it’s also important to acknowledge the bad. My adoptive parents shouldn’t have adopted five kids and brought us up in a toxic, sexually tensioned, dysfunctional environment. Unfortunately, I’m not the only case out there. Sibling sexual abuse is the most common but the least talked about. We need to talk about it. We need to share these stories to help others.

It’s important…to get myself through Mother’s Day, I was there for myself and celebrated my loving husband and my mother in law. My mother in law is the definition of what a good mother, a good parent should be. She is strong, caring and supportive. I am thankful that I have that now. I wish that for every child out there if not now for later on in their lives.

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Almond Oatmeal Cookies

Makes 24

Ingredients

1 stick of unsalted butter

1 cup of dark brown sugar

1/2 cup of granulated sugar

2 eggs

1/2 tsp. of almond extract

1/2 tsp. of vanilla extract

1 1/3 cup of all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. of sea salt

1/2 tsp. of baking soda

1/2 tsp. of ground cinnamon 

2 1/2 cup of oats

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. With a standing mixer cream butter and sugars together at medium-high speed. Once fully mixed, add two eggs and the extracts to the sugar mixture. Mix until combine and set aside.
  3. In a medium size mixing bowl, whisk the following dry ingredients until mixed. Flour, sea salt, baking soda, and cinnamon.
  4. Then slowly add the dry mixture 1/2 cup at a time to the wet ingredients in the standing mixer. Set the standing mixer on medium-high speed.
  5. Once the flour is incorporated, add the 2 1/2 cups of oats and mix into dough, until fully combined.
  6. Once finished lightly coat a cookie pan with cooking spray. Place the cookies one a time with a spoon, leaving a few inches in between them.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes at 350 F. or longer as desired. Once finished baking, let the cookies cool on the pan for 3-5 minutes then with a spatula transfer to a plate.
  8. Yields 24 medium-sized cookies.

Enjoy!!!!

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Photos by. Bernadette Mira

and

Styling cubes by. Garrett Hagen

Lemon Sake Quencher

lemon drink

Photography by. Unknown-TOPSHOP photoshoot(Left) and Bernadette Mira(Right)

Model: Cara Delevingne

This past weekend was hectic and made me think quite a bit about what I want for my life. Relieving the past and traumatic situations can always put me into the what I like to call my ‘quiet time’ where I spend countless hours talking to myself (which maybe isn’t exactly quiet time but it certainly is therapeutic.). I find it important to take those moments of quiet where we ask ourselves “What do I really want for my life?” or “Who are the type of people I want to be surrounded by?” I have so far concluded that I want a life of growth, to be surrounded by people who care and also desire growth. I’m still spending time figuring out the rest but I have a lifetime for that.

For today’s recipe, I once again wanted to keep it simple, because sometimes the simplest things can be the best. Enjoy this Lemon Sake drink while relaxing the evening away in a bubbly bath tub.

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Lemon Sake Quencher 🍋

Serves 1

Ingredients 

1/2 tsp. of sugar

 a pinch of black cracked pepper

1/3 cup of lemon juice (from two small-medium size lemons)

5 ginger pieces chopped up into big slices

1/4 tbsp. of good sake

1 ounce of tonic water 

lemon zest to top it off

Extra:

Small or medium sauce pan

Strainer

Ice cubes 

Grater

Directions:

  1. Boil on low to medium heat lemon juice, sugar, pepper and ginger slices together with lid on for 10-15 minutes.
  2. Once the lemon mixture has finished, drain in a strainer to catch the ginger slices and pour into an empty jar. Immediately put into the freezer to freeze for 10 minutes.
  3. Then take the lemon mixture out of the freezer and pour into desired cocktail glass.
  4. Combine sake and tonic water to the lemon mixture. Grate lemon zest to top it off.
  5. Enjoy with two ice cubes. Relax and take it easy.

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Photos by. Bernadette Mira