I am “likkle but tallawah,” as my Caribbean brethren from Jamaica say.

selfie by author (Melissa A. Matthews)

I’m a 4'9, 90 lb storyteller whose stories and experiences are taller, heavier, and more far reaching than I might have ever imagined.

As a teenager growing up in Brooklyn NY, I thought I’d die at twenty-one. I had a dream in which I watched myself die. I lived with reckless abandon. By the time I was twenty-five , I’d accomplished every goal I’d written down from zero to sixteen. I got a degree in painting, opened an arts nonprofit, exhibited internationally, wrote stories, and sold my art.

I spent my late twenties trying to figure out what a life…

I said what I said and you’re going to love it.

Photo by Emanuel Ekström on Unsplash

Something that I’m learning on my life’s journey right now is that simplicity can breed joy. So, I’ve been playing with pickles! I made homemade dill and garlic pickles. I’ve been experimenting with eating them on toast and in toasties ever since.

We’re going to start with my simple pickle recipe which can be used for any type of pickle. I just happened to have a surplus of cucumbers and dill that I didn’t want to waste. …

What’s the one thing that’s holding you back from your joy?

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Most mornings, I watch Facebook videos by Dr. Bertice Berry. She’s an academician that began making videos during the pandemic. She usually tells a story. Some of them are heartwarming, some of them are funny, all of them have a deeper meaning — a moral, so to speak. She has a lovely countenance and most days her stories give me something meaningful to reflect on throughout the day. Today was no different.

Joy comes in the morning, doesn’t it?

This morning, she told a story about buying a box of recycled plastic hangers. She was so thrilled by the opportunity to use said hangers to organize her…

This vegan macaroni puttanesca is the weeknight meal that’ll spice up your life.

Photo by Author (Melissa A. Matthews)

I LOVE olives, salt, and spice and this one is for my fellow salt, spice, and brine lovers.

Pre-veganism, Puttanesca was a favorite of mine. However, aside from olives and capers, it usually has anchovies in it. At fancy restaurants, I used to have this beautiful sauce over linguine or a thin spaghetti, but all I had in my cupboard was elbows and I had a craving. You know me—I made it work. In place of the anchovies, shredded nori sheets added an ocean-like salt factor. I skipped the capers and added extra olives because I was fresh out. …

This creamy quinoa cook-up is a riff on a Caribbean classic you never knew you needed.

Photo by Author (Melissa A. Matthews)

Last month (June 2021), we--Trinidad and Tobago--were still under a full blown state of emergency due to increasing COVID numbers and a shortage of vaccines in the region due to the politics of the Western world. That meant that eating out or ordering in was out of the question. At the same time, work cranked up on many levels. It’s been a blessing, but it also meant needing to whip up quick and tasty dinners for my family in between zoom meetings. So, I began relying on one pot meals.

Quinoa Cook-up is a classic Caribbean/Trinidadian cook up that would…

Inside the mind of a woman losing a bosom buddy.

Photo by Dainis Graveris on Unsplash

Last weekend, after four days of back to back late night work sessions, I decided to allow myself to binge Netflix and chill for the remainder of the weekend. My sister recommended The Bold Type.

The show was fluffy and flirty enough for me to not get too bogged down or have to think too deeply about it — well, most of it. It’s a coming of age drama about mid-twenty somethings. There were some portrayals that made me roll my eyes, but that’s fodder for another piece. For the most part, I watched mindlessly which was what I needed.

Easy to find and/or prepare vegan treats.

Vegan Chocolate Chunk cookies Photo by Author (Melissa A. Matthews)

Sometimes, all you need is a good snack to lift your mood. When I’m feeling down or snack-ish, these are my top 3 go-to snacks!

#1 Vegan Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I’m NOT a huge sweet-eater, but chocolate is my sweet of choice and Chocolate chip cookies are the holy grail of cookies as far as I’m concerned. A couple weeks ago, my partner used Tasty’s vegan chocolate chunk cookie recipe to create a sweet Mother’s Day surprise for me. He used Lindt 70% dark chocolate. You could use any chocolate brand you like. Next time, I think we’ll try some local Trini chocolate. The cookies…

A few tips, tricks, and to-dos for the investing novice.

Photo by Pepi Stojanovski on Unsplash

Regardless of how much or how little you have to invest, start off by putting in something every month.

Getting into investing can be extremely intimidating especially if it isn’t or wasn’t a topic that came up in your family or friend circles in any meaningful way. Understanding what to buy, how to buy, and when can be off-putting.

In late 2019, I joined the Robinhood app on a whim. When I had an extra $20, I’d drop it in that account and buy a random stock. There was really no rhyme or reason to my buying — NO strategy…

Is it a challenge worth undertaking?

Circle Meditation 7| digital painting by author, Melissa A. Matthews

“Oh wow that texture is interesting,” he said acknowledging the merits of the abstract art print with an all too familiar noncommittal tone that has plagued every single conversation about my art throughout our friendship. I should be used to it by now, but the sting never quite goes away. He is just one of a few who say things like “Your work is so different!” in a tone that one would use for your friend’s ugly newborn. OR those who are suspiciously noncommittal when money is involved, but always manage to slide into conversation that they accept art as…

According to Jimmy Dean, “you get out of it, what you put in.” I put in nutrient dense veggies and legumes!

Veggie sausage, red beans and quinoa| Photo by author (Melissa A. Matthews)

This sausage recipe came to me on a whim. I was making Creole Lousiana-style red beans and I like adding sausage to that preparation. I didn’t have any Beyond Meat sausages and I didn’t feel like making a tofu one. I really just wanted a good veggie sausage. I had a yellow yam — I prefer sweet potato — hemp seeds, a little leftover quinoa and some leftover toasted channa (chickpeas). I decided it was going to work. And, you know what?! It did.

Sweet Potato & Hempseed Vegan Sausage

What you’ll need…


1/4 onion diced

1/4 cup of quinoa

1/2 sweet pepper (color of your choice)


Melissa A. Matthews

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