Friday, February 26, 2021

Marcell Von Berlin - Fall Winter 2021 Ready-to-Wear Collection

Fashion remains one of the greatest 'loves' and sheer pleasures of my existence--and excites me in ways that make me giddy and enthralled all at once.  Such was the reaction to my introduction to designer label, MARCELL VON BERLIN.

Founded in 2012 with ready-to-wear collections for men and women, the label stands for progressive looks, reflected through powerful silhouettes and unique statement prints.  Based in Berlin, the label embodies electric energy and urban charm with a street-style emphasis.  But ready-to-wear isn't all the label offers. Designer Marcell Pustul is a visionary who also creates custom made couture pieces.  The result? Both lines offer impeccable craftsmanship and the highest quality materials. 


Since its relaunch in 2018, the brand has expanded nationally and internationally, making its New York Fashion Week debut recently. On February 18th, the designer released his Fall Winter 2021 Ready-to-Wear collection titled “Fashion Remains.”

“Fashion Remains” is a reflection of Marcell's experience in Los Angeles during the pandemic. The FW21 collection expresses strong optimism towards the new normal. The message of the collection is in this strange new world lies the belief in the strength of fashion and its yearning for return.


Shooting on ruined building on the rough cliffs of Malibu evokes standstill, as if the entire world is holding its breath (“the new normal”). The collection moves in this ambivalent, intangible realm - a realm between something rooted in our world as we once knew it, and yet completely different. 

Watch the stunning digital NYFW show here and prepare to experience some of my aforementioned giddiness, too.

Happy Styling!

Photo Credits: MARCELL VON BERLIN, F/W 2021

MARCELL VON BERLIN collaborated with Fashion Director/ Stylist Nicola Formichetti. 





Sunday, January 31, 2021

{In Case You Missed It}: 2020 Highlights

Against the backdrop of everything 2020 brought to bear (the good, the bad, and the downright ugly), I'm thankful for the highlights--the special, often everyday, moments that still allowed for a memorable year, despite a global pandemic and its fallout.  And so, without any further delay, (where did January go?!), I'm thrilled to continue my perennial tradition of highlights and to cap off my recent 10 year blogiversary installments. (Woot, woot!)

2020 started like most other years, for which I'm grateful, allowing me to indulge in some of the my favorite things all over again.  I kicked off the year with a trip to my forever favorite New York City, to indulge in the perfect trifecta of food, fashion and travel.  On the food front, my timing allowed for yet another indulgence in NYC Restaurant Week, where I took in both new (Wild Ink) and new to me (Butter) restaurants for phenomenal dining (for less).  

My stay also included another press invite to cover the A/W Man Woman Show again on the cusp of New York Fashion Week.  Designer interviews, coupled with innovative and classic collections spanning menswear, lifestyle and home goods, was a return to a space and collective design talent that was nothing short of exceptional.  

Finally, there was also my attendance at the New York Times Travel Show, where I soaked up industry knowledge and expertise from travel experts, media and tourism representatives, fellow consultants and more.  Although travel would be soon be impacted (and largely restricted) in unimaginable ways, the investment was well worth it--and my knowledge hangs in the ready for when the world restores to a healthier landscape.  

And with it all, I couldn't come to town without experiencing long-time favorites like Rockefeller Center and Bryant Park, along with new discoveries, like the fabulous Hudson Yards and The Vessel.  As it turned out, that would be the extent of my travel before the Covid-induced quarantine began a month or so later, so I'm truly thankful to have scored that trip and those memories just in time.

More excitement came with my continued collaboration with exceptional, fellow Black food bloggers for the fourth annual Black History Month Potluck and my Vegetarian Chili recipe (so good!), along with more food and hospitality media for local restaurants and hotels.

I was additionally honored to have my work featured in MyDomaine, sharing my Elderflower Lemonade Spritz.  And as quarantined life became the norm, hearing from many of you looking for cooking inspiration, I hosted my first Instagram Live Cooking Class and kicked off a star ingredient series, rounding-up recipes centered around a star ingredient that's typically on-hand in the pantry or freezer/refrigerator.

And as collaborations go, I was honored to participate in a Juneteenth Virtual Cookout with over 60 fellow Black food bloggers and creatives to celebrate the history and significance of this important (but often forgotten) part of American history.  Our virtual cookout was featured across several food and media outlets, including the Washington Post, Food52, the FeedFeed, Blavity, and many more, while resonating the emphatic message that Black lives and Black history matter.

Continuing that theme here on the blog included posts on effective allyship, to supporting Black-owned Atlanta restaurants, to drive much needed aid to those establishments disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

And because it became clear that "quarantine life" wasn't leaving anytime soon, I dedicated more content (blog and social media) to helping us continue to adjust and thrive in our quarantined lifestyle, including more travel, lifestyle, fitness, beauty, self care, and arts and culture posts and sharing, along with recipes and cooking inspiration for keeping things delicious while staying home and staying safe.

The holiday season was met with my guide for a stress-free Thanksgiving, including a series of social posts on everything from recipes, to advance prep, to making the best turkey, and more.

Finally, I paused to take in the 10 year run that crescendo-ed in August and recounted my journey from then until now in a series of posts, culminating with this one (albeit a bit beyond the 10th year). :)

Which brings me once again to the heartfelt, resounding sentiment of: thank you.  For every post you've read, comment you've shared, recipe you've tried, travel tip you've taken on, lifestyle inspiration you've garnered, platform you've joined me on, cooking class or pop-up shop you've attended, collaboration you've extended, and just simply being here year after year, I extend a million thanks!

Although I was excited to live out my passions here and beyond, it is absolutely the people I share this with (known and unknown) that make it worthwhile and keep me coming back again and again. At the root of my love for it all, has always been my love of sharing it with those who are along for the ride. I'm truly thankful for the blessings that make this journey so rich and rewarding.

I'm praying this new year is a blessed, healthy and prosperous year for you and those you love.  Let's stay connected through it all and keep cheering each other on. The best is yet to come!



P.S. See more of my 2020 highlights here!


Thursday, January 21, 2021

{Be Inspired}: Hope Is In The Air

Yesterday marked the inauguration of the 46th President of the United States of America.  And with it came a renewed hope for the journey ahead as a country--and as a black woman in this country.  "So much from one day?," you may be asking.  And my answer is a resolute yes.

Let me explain.

Witnessing Kamala Harris, who is the first woman, and a Black and Southeast Asian woman, in fact, become the Vice President of the United States was historic and reaffirming at once.  Why? Because it emphasized something we all know: representation matters.  Seeing a woman who looks like me, and who has undoubtedly encountered (and overcome) the challenges that other women, and Black women, in particular, face, is the ultimate affirmation that it (whatever 'it' may be) can happen for me, too.  It's no exaggeration when I say that countless girls and women of all backgrounds felt the same.  To see it is to aspire to it; to know its possibility turned reality.


It's why, I imagine, President Joe Biden recounts telling his high school mates that he believed he would be President someday.  He saw, administration over administration, white males, who looked like him, hold the most prestigious and powerful position in the world.  Not a far stretch in his mind, therefore.

Hope lives in the believing that a dream, however audacious and ambitious, can become reality.  Hope lives in being able to "see" before you see.  And that's why representation matters.  It's why recreating more moments like yesterday's, on the big and small stages of life, matters.  From the White House, to the Clergy, to the Boardroom, to the University, to the Military, and so much more, it's what we need now more than ever.  

Opportunity. Hope. Big Dreams. Dreams Fulfilled. Repeat. 

If 2021 needed a booster shot (and it did, even in its short tenure so far), yesterday was the super dose of hope that I believe revived our expectations for better, brighter days ahead.  And I pray you experienced at least a small taste of it, too.

Here's to more Happy (Inspired) Living! 


Sunday, January 3, 2021

D.M.R. Fine Foods, The Blog, Celebrates 10 Years (Pt.3)

Soaking in my exceptional BHG Stylemaker Event in '18

Happy New Year! 

Without question, making it through 2020 was a feat--and one well worth celebrating. And before much more time in the new year elapses, I want to finalize my "blogiversary" celebration with this third installment covering the 2016-2019 years.

I hope you've enjoyed my walk down memory lane from the 2010-2012 and 2013-2015 installments and perhaps learned a bit more about me and what I've been up to on this front all of these years. Best of all, I hope you are inspired to stay connected with me in the days ahead because I like having you around. :)

In reflecting on the 2016-2019 years, they were years of continued momentum across many of the areas that had come to life and blossomed in the previous years, along with their own new noteworthy highlights.  So let's once again dive in--and enjoy!


My 2016 highlights included the likes of more amazing travel, the continuation of my Holiday Pop Up Shop, my For the Love of Food monthly food column in Atlanta Tribune: The Magazine (2011-2019), continued food and lifestyle media coverage, more sponsored brand campaigns, including Groupon and Warby Parker, as well as PopSugar, being featured in the Vinings Lifestyle Magazine, and taking in that exquisite night to remember at the James Beard House in NYC that I was awarded in 2015, and enjoying a celebration among celebrations at the Red Rooster Harlem Cookbook launch party!! 


My 2017 highlights reflect more amazing highs from my journey to date. From exceptional travel throughout the year, including another dynamic, hosted press trip to St. Croix in collaboration with United States Virgin Islands Tourism, it was another year for the travel books.

Beyond travel, the year brought on a new (and continuing) collaboration of epic proportions, with a cadre of fellow talented food bloggers, for a first of its kind Black History Month Virtual Potluck. It remains one of the key highlights of my blogging journey to date, as it gave more exposure and expression to our individual and collective voices, talents, stories and heritage, among each other, as well as on several renowned media platforms (including Food52, Blavity, Tasting Table, and more that would follow in the years to come.)   

My media footprint expanded(!!!)--to include television (a long-held dream of mine) via a series of holiday-themed segments on CBS46's, Atlanta Plugged In show, showcasing my recipes and entertaining tips, as well as a St. Croix travel radio segment that chronicled the best of the destination and travel planning tips, following my recent press trip earlier in the year.  

Continued collaborations, including existing and new media relations and social media campaigns, across more hotel, tourism, lifestyle and food brands, were definite highlights, along with more fashion media coverage for the Ragtrade Atlanta Fashion Week and Runway Show


My 2018 highlights included more thrilling moments and experiences across the food, travel, lifestyle and media fronts.  From continued collaborations (BHM Potluck, food and lifestyle media relations and campaigns, etc.) epic travel, more sharing via television segments, this time on NBC's hit Atlanta and Company show, along with more fashion and lifestyle goodness from Saks to the Global Runway Fashion Presentation hosted by the Atlanta Airport, I couldn't make it all up, if I tried. :)

2018 was also the year I experienced one of my biggest honors on my journey to date: being selected as a 2018 BHG Stylemaker by Better Homes and Gardens magazine!!! An honor indeed, by all accounts, with the coveted spots reserved for a select few on an annual basis, I couldn't have been more thrilled to have been recognized by such a renowned and exceptional publication--and to have been in the company of my fellow ah-mazing Stylemakers--for an unforgettable event in New York City! From the day I was notified and invited until the very last moment of the event, I was beyond thrilled. (I know I keep saying it: but dreams do come true!)


At the risk of sounding like a broken record, my 2019 highlights represented what was truly another phenomenal year.  As you might have guessed :), there was more epic travel (I added my fourth continent via Thailand and more new countries, states and cities to my footprint, as well as launching my own travel boutique), to more exceptional collaborations, media campaigns and recognition, across food, fashion, travel and lifestyle, including New York Fashion Week-adjacent media coverage at the MAN/WOMAN A/W 19 show, another phenomenal hosted press trip in collaboration with Arkansas Tourism, and a dream (to me) media collaboration with a long beloved brand, ESSENCE, among notable others.  

As I mentioned in an earlier post, my highlights always included my blog posts during the year, that were always done in tandem with every other amazing experience and opportunity throughout the years.  They can all be found in my archives section here on the blog, so feel free to indulge!

That brings us to the year we'll all never forget: 2020--and the actual culmination of my 10th blog anniversary, or "blogiversary", this past August.  So in keeping with my annual highlights tradition, I will dedicate a post to my 2020 highlights in very near future to conclude this memory bank/digital celebration of sorts. :)

I thank you for being here and being interested, engaged, supportive, connected and encouraging throughout my journey.  It has made it sweeter and all the more fulfilling--and I look forward to sharing more as the year unfolds. 

I wish you the best (healthiest, happiest, most fulfilling) year yet on your personal journey.

Happy Living!



Wednesday, December 23, 2020

D.M.R. Fine Foods, The Blog, Celebrates 10 Years (Pt. 2)

I'm excited to be back sharing more of the highlights and experiences that have made my D.M.R. Fine Foods blogging journey truly rewarding to date.  And I trust that the best is yet to come!  

In this installment, we're going down memory lane for the years of 2013-2015, and believe me when I tell you that they were some of the most progressive and thrilling years, following the amazing-ness of the early years.  So without further ado, let's keep this party train rolling!


2013 highlights brought on the likes of amazing collaborations, including being a founding member of Popsugar Food Select which would segue into the publishing of five of my original recipes on the Popsugar platform and inclusion in additional round-ups, being acknowledged as Blogger of the Week among the cadre of fellow talented bloggers, and sponsored/ambassador campaigns for the Popsugar Must Have Box in the years to follow.  

My collaborations continued as a contributing blogger with the Travelista TV brand, expanding my reach for sharing my travel passion, tips and savvy with fellow travelistas far and wide.  Annnd, I saw another dream come true, as I embarked on my first (of several fully-sponsored/hosted) press trip to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.  Furthering my voice as a travel journalist and working with tourism authorities, all while taking in the best of a destination, couldn't have been more thrilling and fueling to keep indulging my passions with wild abandon.


And then there was 2014!!! With momentum from the previous years flowing nicely, 2014 highlights brought even more awe-inspiring experiences.  I caught the bug for teaching culinary skills and techniques, while making food a fun and delicious endeavor, during my William-Sonoma days and in 2014 ultimately parlayed that into the realization of  my very own cooking school. (Can you say, dream fulfilled?!). As the pop-up concept was starting to catch on, and with a full-time corporate career in tow, I decided on a pop-up concept that would launch in the Spring of 2014 to raving success.  You can take in more of the amazing highlights from my Techniques and Tastings (TM) Pop Up Cooking School--and stay tuned for future offerings from this well-beloved DMRFF offering.

And if my cooking school wasn't enough, I added another pop up concept, in the way of my Holiday Pop Up Shop, to the mix with our initial launch in December of 2014.  My love of sharing my food with the "masses" beyond the world of media and bespoke cooking classes, was realized in this one-day format where I brought forth many of the recipes that had become customer favorites from my Holiday Sweets and Treats Menu catering days.  Again, I say, stay tuned for more on this front!

I also continued furthering my media and collaboration footprint covering events like the Taste of Atlanta Food Festival, restaurant reviews, being a contributing writer to the Travel Noire platform and crowning the year with another epic, hosted press trip and tourism collaboration to St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands!


The hits just kept on coming with my 2015 highlights!  

I experienced more epic travel forays to new destinations (like Argentina and Uruguay) and repeat favorites (hello Paris and London and NYC), and more, to satisfy my travel passion. 

Back on the media/collaboration front, my footprint expanded to more festivals, including the highly regarded Atlanta Food and Wine Festival, along with more restaurant and food industry event reviews, including Restaurant Week indulgences and more.  I was also honored to have my first of four recipes, to date, published on the FeedFeed!

There was also the matter of having the James Beard Foundation give a nod to my food, accompanied by an award of dinner for two at the James Beard House!!!!! It still remains one of the most special memories in my journey to date--and a night I'll always remember. 

My byline credits expanded to include a lifestyle piece in the June 2015 issue of Upscale Magazine; another honor, indeed.  

And then there was yet another dream come true, as I received my first media invitation to cover the Daniel Silverstain SS16 New York Fashion Week collection (eeek!!!). To know me is to know my life-long (as in adolescent years forward) passion for fashion and my dream of attending fashion week someday.  

And to be clear, all of these highlights were in parallel with blogging my heart out here and staying connected through my social media channels. From 2010 until now, that has always been the format.

So much amazing-ness, so many memories, so much more goodness still to share.  I keep pinching myself and thanking God for all the richness this journey has served (and continues to add) to my life and expression as a creative.  Thank you for being here and for allowing me to share many of the good things that continue to make it worthwhile.  Stay tuned for more in the days ahead. :)

Happy Holidays!



Friday, December 18, 2020

Holiday Eats: Sugar and Spice Straws with Orange and Walnuts

I can barely think 'holidays' without thinking sugar and spice and everything nice.  So when I stumbled upon a sugar and spice rendition of classic cheese straws, you can guess my elation--and equal determination to bring them to life in my kitchen.

This past weekend, I made good on that promise and spent a sunlit Sunday afternoon baking these delicacies, while singing and bopping along to tunes from my Christmas playlists, while relishing the fragrant wafts that filled my kitchen.  (And because you know how seriously I take self care, creating moments of happy and bliss, like this, are a priority.  And even more so against the backdrop of 2020.  So remember to take time to be good to you.)

Back to the recipe, it marries the warmth of five spice and cinnamon to bright citrus--and sugar, of course. :) As an added bonus, walnuts give great texture, along with nutty goodness, and flaky puff pastry brings it all together.  So as you're warming your oven in the days ahead, add this easy recipe to your repertoire.  The results are gorgeous, to boot, so no one has to know what a cinch they were to make.  It'll be our little secret.

And if I haven't raved enough already, you can serve them any number of ways, from cocktail party bites, as a part of a cheese board, paired with bubbly, or as an anytime snack.  

However you indulge, you're in for...Happy Eating!

Sugar and Spice Straws with Orange and Walnuts


3/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons five spice powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Zest of an orange

1/2 cup walnuts, finely chopped 

2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

In a small bowl, combine sugar, five spice and cinnamon.

Roll out each pastry sheet to approximately 11in. square (no need to stress; just do your best, like I did!) Sprinkle half the sugar mixture evenly on one sheet. Follow with walnuts and orange zest.

Take the second sheet and lay directly on top of the first sheet.  Sprinkle remaining sugar mixture on top. Use rolling pin and roll out further (you'll also be pressing the sugar into the pastry by doing this) in one direction to form a rectangle that's approximately 11in. x 13in. 

Cut into 1/2 in. strips and transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet. (I used two to space them out.) Hold both ends and twist 3-4 times to form a spiral.  Pinch ends tightly to avoid unraveling while in the oven.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, rotating sheet pan(s) once, until deep golden brown.

Allow to cool on sheet pan.  Serve and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Peter Som



Tuesday, December 15, 2020

5 Tips for Stress-Free Holiday Travel

Memories from Florence, Italy
 While the prospect of holiday travel can come with excitement and anticipation of enjoying an amazing getaway, it can also bring its unique set of challenges. To help you make the most of your holiday travels (and beyond), here are five tips to keep in tow:

1. Embrace Your Inner Early Bird or Night Owl for Going To and Fro —Planning for very early or very late typically results in lighter crowds and clutter on the road, on the train, or as you’re trying to get through airport security.

2. Pack Light —I’m still working on this one, admittedly, but a lighter load allows for carry-on ease, minimizing the stress (and extra $$) associated with checked baggage in the case of air travel. Plus it’s all-around easier to manuever across multi-destinations.

3. Avoid Tight Connections —Because despite the best laid plans, delays sometimes occur. And nothing shrieks stress like the possibility of missing a connection,

4. Stay Powered Up —If you’ve ever glanced at your phone to see that low battery warning staring back, then you know the angst of not having enough juice for the journey. Make sure your mobile devices and portable chargers are fully powered before leaving home.

5. Get Organized —Gather important documentation, such as passports, boarding passes, itineraries, etc. and keep them organized and easily accessible. In the case of international travel, check sites like the State Department for relevant travel requirements, advisories, country information and related updates.

Now, you’re more ready than ever to enjoy…

Happy Travels!

This article originally appeared on Postcard Travel Boutique

© D.M.R. Fine Foods. All rights reserved.