Headwrap, Lipstick, & Confidence!

head wrap,lipstick, &Confidence

For those of you who have been following me for a while, you know that I love a great head wrap! Head wraps allow me to not only embrace my culture, but to also express myself through color and style which is the opposite of my extreme introvert personality. I’ve also been dealing with hair loss for the past year due to an autoimmune disease and have been exploring different wraps and styles that give me a little boost of confidence during this emotional journey.

They’re perfect for those bad hair days we all have or even to run errands while deep conditioning.  I love them so much because they come in so many bold colors and styles, which makes it easy to add a little flair to any outfit.  I can effortlessly throw on my head wrap and a bold lip and I’m good to go.

I know that tying a head wrap may seem pretty intimidating, but trust me, it’s what you of make it. With the help of YouTube and a little time in the mirror, you’ll be a wrap tying queen!  I love to tie mine in a series of knots followed by a few tucks and fluffs to get the desired style.  One of the things I love the most is that no two wrap styles are ever the same.  You can try to replicate what you did yesterday, but the wrap seems to have a mind of it’s own.

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One of my all time favorite head wraps as of late has been this satin lined head wrap by Jobim Clothing that was  sent to me for my review.  This particular wrap is in the style “Chizoba.”  What I love most besides the impeccable, vibrant colors is that it is lined with  a poly-satin material, which aids to protect my natural curls from any breakage or shedding. The lining of satin is only placed in the middle of the wrap rather than the entire length of the fabric which gives me more room to groove when tying.  I also love the thickness and length of this wrap (76″ x 20″) which allowed me to have more variations in style.

The only con to this wrap that I found was actually the highlight, which is the satin lining.  Yes, it was extremely beneficial to have, but it did make my wrapping experience a little difficult.  The wrap slid around a little and I had to make sure I had a very tight grip in order to complete the style and it not fall out of place.  After a few tries, this became very minor as I completed my desired style.

I will definitely be purchasing in the future.  I love the durability and I can’t get over how lovely the colors and patterns are on this head wrap.  If you would like to purchase one of your own, or any other products you see at www.jobimclothing.com use the coupon code “FAVOREDFREAUXS” for 10% off your entire order.

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Chanda Machebe, Founder

Here’s a little bit about the creative mind and beautiful soul behind Jobim Clothing, Founder, Chanda Machebe.

Can you tell me why you started Jobim Clothing and the story behind the name?
“I started Jobim Clothing because of my love for all things Ankara and African fashion in general. It is a joy to showcase a bit of my Nigerian culture and heritage wherever I go. Before starting Jobim Clothing, I was able to have my own custom clothing made in Nigeria and I wanted to give others the opportunity to do the same here in the states. To have an outfit 100% custom to your size and liking makes you enjoy it more. It becomes more of a work of art that you’re happy to show off to others.

My creativity is expansive in some areas, but lacking in most others. I blame it on my day job as an engineer. My husband and I tried to come up with a name for days to no avail. We didn’t love anything on our list of ideas. Another day, we finally landed on Jobim which very loosely translates to “Joel is my heart”. The “J” for Joel and “obim” for my heart in the Igbo language.”

What inspires you to choose your fabric and patterns?

“Going to the market to pick out fabrics is one of my all time favorite things to do. I get there and want to buy up everything. So many options upon options. There is no real science to my selection. The number one criteria is quality. I choose only the best. It’s difficult to explain but after doing this for a while, your eye gets trained as to what to look for. Before going, I do research to find out what’s trending in Nigeria and in the US. As far as colors and patterns, I just follow whatever my eyes gravitate to. Patterns that are unique, detailed, and colorful.”

What do you want each customer to feel when they receive your products?

“I want every customer of Jobim Clothing to feel as if they’re getting something that is genuine, one of a kind, and made with love. I want them to feel as if they have received something that makes them feel bold and confident and that demonstrates their personality and character with a bit of African flair.”

What do you think makes your business different from any other in your niche?
“What sets Jobim Clothing apart from others is the extra mile I go to provide high quality products. Every piece of Ankara fabric is one that I have literally flown to Nigeria, hand chosen, and inspected myself. I am a one woman show and integrity is priceless. My desire is to provide a memorable shopping experience as I share my love for Ankara fabrics to others everywhere.

P.S.  international shipping, dresses, and skirts will be launching Spring 2018”

I really enjoyed reviewing this beautiful handmade head wrap.  Please take the time out to support this lovely small business owner as her business grows.  You can keep up with any updates and sales by signing up on the website mailing list via www.jobimclothing.com or via social media:

Facebook: @Jobim Clothing

Instagram: @Jobimclothing

Twitter: @JobimClothing

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Mission Monday

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So, it’s Monday….most people’s least favorite day of the week.  At this point, you’re either laying in bed contemplating on what excuse to use in order to get out of work or you’re swallowing the huge pill labeled “ADULT” and proceeding to go about your day.  As you scroll your timeline, I’m more than sure you see a lot of “Motivation Monday” posts on Instagram and Facebook, but do they really motivate you?  Are you really going about your day with an extra boost of energy ready to conquer the world after reading it or is it just worth a quick double tap?

What’s your mission today?  What goals do you plan on crushing?  What giants do you plan on slaying today and everyday afterward?

 

I read the following in my devotional this morning:

“We should be on a mission and that mission is to be who God intended us to be as we live and work in His world for His glory.” -‘What is My Mission’ (via the Bible app)

Yes, to those of this world, Mondays can be a drag, but as God’s people, we must be joyous in each day that we are blessed to receive and do the work that God intended for us.  We have to have the intention that everything we do is for God and give everything nothing less than what He would approve of.

“And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us, And establish the work of our hands for us; Yes, establish the work of our hands.” -Psalms 90:17

Start the week off the right way and be ready to be on a mission for God.  Get up.  Plant your feet on the ground and push through anything holding you back.  Devote yourself to God each morning and have a conversation with Him.  Dragging your feet is not an option anymore.  There are too many blessings to be had and souls to be fed for us as believers to continuously push the snooze button.  Just being present and allowing His works to shine through us can make a huge impact on others.

What’s your mission?

 

More Than A Hashtag #ForeverDuncan

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A while back, I got the awesome opportunity to have an interview with fitness trainer, Sherrell Duncan and Grammy and Emmy-nominated musician, Alfred Duncan. Just one year ago, the Duncans literally broke the internet with their famous hashtag #ForeverDuncan.  To refresh your memory, I left a video below of the tear jerking same day engagement and marriage.  Just a fair warning, you may want to have some tissue on hand for this one.  Alfred literally had every woman giving their significant other the side eye while crying tears of joy.  In my interview with this power couple, I was able to get the scoop on where they are now and a few lasting tips on setting the foundation for an unbreakable marriage.  This couple is so much more than a hashtag.  They’re making some major moves and changing lives along the way.

 

Alfred, why did you decide to have a surprise wedding for Sherrell rather than go the traditional route?

Alfred:

“I knew for a good period of time that my girlfriend at the time would be my wife and so we were going through premarital classes and we were also practicing celibacy.  We were already preparing to be married and I didn’t want to take the whole process of being engaged and waiting three to four months up to year to get married when I already knew that she was going to be my wife.  So, I just chose to do it all in the same day.  She wanted to go to the justice of peace, but I wanted more for her.”

 

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A lot of women like to plan every part of their weddings themselves.  How did you know exactly how to go about planning the perfect wedding?

 Alfred:

“Through our courting, I really paid attention to what she likes and what she doesn’t like.  She wasn’t really for a big grand wedding.  That wasn’t something that she wanted to do.  She really wasn’t for all the planning and all of that.  I knew that already so I just took care of the job for her.”

“Is he just proposing to keep me or is he proposing because he really loves me? “

How did you know for certain that Sherrell was going to yes to your proposal?

Sherrell:

“We get that question a lot.  “How did you know she was going to say yes?”  And it’s funny to me because I think that in relationships you’re supposed to have effective communication so you know where the other person stands on certain important things like marriage, kids, careers, and things like that.  So, when I hear that question, its always so mind boggling and I’m like what are people talking about in their relationship.?

Why would he not know that I would say yes and where are we in our relationship to say no?  Why would he propose?  Is he just proposing to keep me or is he proposing because he really loves me?  That question is always funny to me because I always think where are people in their relationships if they don’t know if the person will say yes or not?”

It’s so great to hear that you both took the necessary steps prior to marriage like pre-marital classes and practicing celibacy.  What was that experience like?  Did you live with one another prior to marriage as well?

Sherrell:

“Yes, we did and it was extremely hard okay!  Lol!  I wouldn’t do that all over again.  I just wouldn’t.  I mean, for the emotional and mental lesson, it was more emotionally and mentally awakening and eye opening for us.  We learned a lot about ourselves during celibacy.  It wasn’t just about abstaining from sex and honoring God’s word.  That was one thing, but we really learned a lot about each other and the communication level heightened and evolved.

It was crazy.  I would have dreams about different men dying and I couldn’t see their faces. It basically translated to the different soul ties with men that I had relationships with in the past.  I was a really live thing that happened.  It was definitely needed.  I just wouldn’t do that again.”

Alfred, how long did it take to plan the wedding without Sherrell knowing?

Alfred:

“It took about three months to have everything in place.”

Did you have a lot of help as far as planning and having to sneak around?

Alfred:

“As far as the actual concept like thinking of it, no, but executing it, yes.  There were a lot of people helping me execute it from her family to my family and our mutual friends.  There were a lot of people that helped to pull it off.”

 

“I just want women to understand how real this feeling is when you know your life is about to change.”

How did it fair off in the house with you having to go off in secret to communicate with those helping you orchestrate the big day?

Sherrell:

“I didn’t recognize it at first.  We’re very open about our phones.  Even when we were dating, we took our locks off our phones.  One time, we had the same phone in the same case and we would accidently take each other’s phones and we never had an issue.  I’ve never had that in a relationship.  It was just like, OMG he has my phone and people are sending me Facebook messages.  That’s how it use to be and I felt like it was the same for him.

I didn’t’ realize it until before the wedding.  I just want women to understand how real this feeling is when you know your life is about to change.  I knew something was happening because the week of, he kept sneaking off going outside on the balcony to use the phone and he never does that.  He was going to get coffee at 11 o’clock at night and I’m thinking he really wants to die. Why is he sneaking out? He’s tripping.  At the same time, I knew that he wasn’t cheating on me, but I had to be realistic and ask myself why is he sneaking out?  What could he be sneaking out to do.  I just kept thinking I know he doesn’t want to die today so he needs to get it together.  That’s all I was thinking.  If he would answer the phone in front of me, he would ask them if he could call them right back.

I didn’t know what was going on, but I was having anxiety.  I couldn’t eat.  I couldn’t do anything.  I never felt like that in my entire life.  I wasn’t depressed.  I felt like I was about to die.  Like what is going on?  Everyone was acting funny.”

How long did it take you to get off the high of the hype social media created after the wedding?

Sherrell:

“It’s still crazy.  My husband was an outreach manager.  He didn’t like his job too much.  My husband has not been back to that job since we got married.  It wasn’t his plan to leave his job, but God just worked this thing out girl.  He just laid it all out for us.

No, we still haven’t been acclimated with the fact that one, we’re married.  Like finally!  It hasn’t been long, but practicing celibacy and living with someone makes it seem long.  Also, we’re travelling a lot.  We’re going from state to state to speak.  We haven’t been acclimated to our new lifestyle yet.  Not fully.”

 

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So, what all do you both have going on right now?  I see you both have books out among other things.

Alfred:

“We do a lot of public speaking and relationship conferences.  My wife is a personal trainer.  She does women empowerment conferences and things of that nature.  I have a company called “Duncan Man Planning” and it’s an event planning firm specifically for men to help them pull off something special for their significant other.

Me and my wife wrote books after the wedding.  My wife has a book called “God Made Me Wait” and I have a book called “Man Uplifting.”  We also do things with our books as far as book signings, book readings, and symposiums.  We actually do a lot and we have some things that are cooking up but, we don’t want to talk about them until the ink dries and everything is solidified.”

Can you each tell me a little bit of what your books are about?

Alfred:

“So, my book is called “Man Uplifting” and it’s about the misconception of manhood.  As I got older I realized that I had to relearn what manhood was because I was taught about manhood by popular culture; by some people I looked up to as role models who probably shouldn’t have been my role models.  It’s a lot of things that I was doing that I don’t necessarily identify with manhood.  I had to relearn what manhood was for me.  During that process me and my best man from the wedding, who is also my best friend, decided to put the book together and help people to help themselves to relearn what manhood is.  There’s a lot of men out here who don’t know what manhood is.  I’m not saying my book is saying this is what manhood is.  It’s more so saying that this is what manhood isn’t.  They can try to figure out what manhood is in their life.  So that’s what my book is about.”

Sherrell:

“My book is a compilation of topical prayers that shows from a timeframe from I believe 2007-2016 when I got married.  I wrote it with a good friend, Natasha T. Brown.  It basically shows what I went through and how I’ve allowed God to pour into me through things like abortions, sex addictions, and through drug addiction.  Through domestic violence relationships, not for me, but for my friend.  Selling drugs and partying in the clubs and all different types of stuff.  Dealing with men that kept lying to me and me going back to them and believing them and praying and asking God to please send me someone that was just honest to me and me not following through with my prayer request.

I talk about the backlash of me back in a mess again so, I’m praying to get out of a deeper mess that I put myself in back out of that mess again and blocking my blessings.  It shows how I’m keeping God near and dear to my heart but, I’m not honoring our relationship.  This monogamous relationship with God is more so me having an affair with Him and calling Him whenever I need Him like a “booty call.”  Not really honoring who he is.

So, it shows you my growth and my evolution and my walk with God and how I started trusting him more and how my relationship with Him started out as an affair, but began to become a monogamous relationship and me always putting him first.  Instead of me asking him for things, it turned into me thanking him for everything that I had and things that are coming in the future.

It just shows you how my relationship with God created miracles for me in my relationships and in my career. It’s a freeing book. It’s going to help and has helped a lot of women with the issues they had making decisions society looks at as a poor, but they have to live with it.  How do you live with it by keeping it a secret to yourself?

It’s a very freeing book and it also has 14 devotionals in the back and a workbook to help you with different things like purity, drama, happiness, peace, and temptations. It helps you with different things when the enemy tries to trick you. It gives you a prayer to say every morning to keep you from falling into that trap.  There’s a section where you can write about how these characteristics affected your life and changed your life by giving it to God.

I have a webinar that I came out with my spiritual mentor, Dr. Dawn M Harvey, and it’s called “Dear Self.  You’re Forever Starts Now.”  It’s basically about everything that’s in the book.  It’s about selfcare, fitness, being spiritually fit, emotionally fit, and mentally fit.  How to work on you.  It goes deep into the why are you feeling this way and what are the proper steps you can take.  It is a two-day online webinar.

I speak at different events and speak about love, relationships, being bold, being free, self- destruction.  That’s a part of me going around and embracing women.  Pushing them to be great and helping them to reach that process of being that woman that God has created them to be.”

“No one else can own your truth once you set yourself free; once you get past the people pleasing part and being a holier than thou Christian like you love God so much that you’ve never sinned.”

I really do love the concept of your book and your full transparency for what you’ve gone through in your life.   A lot of women are not transparent with their past.  They want to have this clean façade and show others that their past is without blemish.  Thank you for being open and honest about your story.

Sherrell:

“I’m so glad that God let me be free to talk about it.  It’s okay.  So, what if people judge you.  You own your truth.  If you own your truth, nobody else can own it.  No one can take the copy rights from you.  You trade- marked it.  You put your stamp on it.  No one else can own your truth once you set yourself free; once you get past the people pleasing part and being a holier than thou Christian like you love God so much that you’ve never sinned.  That’s a myth.  No one is that person.  If not all of us, but most of us can agree and understand that.  You don’t know where that person was in that season in their life.”

Can you tell me a little more about why you became a personal trainer?

Sherrell:

I never desired or spoke into existence that I wanted to be a personal trainer.  I’m not a lazy person, but honestly, I like the results of exercise, but I’m not cool with that girl that wants to get up a five o’clock in the morning and workout twice a day and keep going to the gym and the gym selfies.  That’s not the girl I was.  My mess created this.  God gave it to me.  I know it’s well beyond the physical aspect of it.  I share a deep relationship with my clients that goes beyond physical appearance.  We talk about relationships, love, careers, their desires, dreams, goals, and their aspirations.  I know that once I talk to somebody they’re gonna want to level up.  You’re going to walk away from the conversation yeaning to do better and yearning to be great.  I’m not trying to toot my own horn, but just know that’s the gift that God gave me and I’m very humble in that. I have to be disciplined enough so that can do God’s work.  I have to own it.

I’m heavier than I was when I first lost the weight from being 300 pounds, but I’m happy.  There is definitely growth in what god is doing in my life.”

What is it like to have a blended family?

Sherrell:

“We both came into the relationship with children.  He has a thirteen year old son.  I have a six-year-old daughter.  It’s rough.  It’s more rough for me and his son.  When my daughter first met him, she had never met another man outside of her Dad.  So, when she met him, she was scared of him.  She didn’t understand why he was so close to us, like why was he coming to the house or why were we going to church with him and going to eat with him.  She just really wasn’t excepting of him for like the first year.  Now their relationship is awesome.  They have a really great relationship.

We all work really hard.  He has formed his own relationship with her and I’m forming my own relationship with his son.  It’s more so just trying to get to know each other’s personalities and things of that nature.”

With all that you have going on between traveling for book signings and conferences, is there still time to train with your clients?

Sherrell:

“I only do virtual training.  My same clients have stayed with me because they believe that they know that I can get them where they need to be and they enjoy the fellowship.”

 

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How do you both manage making each other happy and communicating in your marriage while still maintaining your business ventures?

Alfred:

“Our business involves us together.  We do have our own separate ventures.  Me being a musician and her personal training.  For the base of what we are known for in business, it’s mostly together.  They want us to speak as a couple.  I can support her and go to her training sessions and work out with her.  She’ll assist me with what I’m planning.  Our job is to maintain our love and constantly support each other.”

Sherrell:

“Outside of work, we find time to just laugh.  People think that spending time together means going on vacations and going on a billion dates.  We make time to laugh and joke with one another and play.  That is very intimate and keeps the relationship going.  It keeps it fresh.  It keeps it fun and we laugh a lot.

We’re not the perfect couple.  My husband and I never had a serious argument until we were married. It’s crazy because we were together three years prior to us getting married, so we didn’t have our first argument until we got married.  It just showed us that we have to work harder now that we are married than when we were just a couple.

We make time to spend with one another.  Our dates become us laying in the bed talking or running around the house chasing each other or doing weird childish stuff.  It makes us feel good.  My husband and I can sit in the living room on our laptops working with no T. V. or anything.  We can do that for two hours and not say a word and we won’t get bored.  We’re at the point where we’re not even bored with one another.  We’re at peace.  We’re working.  We’re good. We don’t require too much from one another.  We’re going to continue to work.  We continue to make each other happy.

I told him, now that I’ve gained all this weight, I’ve got to get back to where I feel like how he met me.  I want to get back to that because I don’t want to get married and then I’m fat because I’m comfortable and were having fun and eating desserts and stuff like that.  We continue to work and we continue to make each other happy.  We laugh a lot to keep things going.”

 

“They’re there for that moment to hear your side, but do we really tell the other person’s side in depth like we’re telling our side?”

How do you feel about people who are close to you being involved in your marriage?

Sherrell:

“No, we don’t keep anybody in our business.  Nobody is in our business.  We talk to each other about who we can go to outside of our pastor, who we can confide in.  We agree that’s the person we can talk to because we both trust that person to go to when we have something going on.  Other than that, I don’t talk to my mother in depth about what’s going on and he doesn’t talk to his family about what’s going on.  It’s none of their business.  They’re there for that moment to hear your side, but do we really tell the other person’s side in depth like we’re telling our side?  So, now they’ve formed their opinion about this person.  At family functions, they’re treating this person funny or now they’re going to go tell somebody else and everybody in the family is looking at you funny and looking at you weird.  We don’t have time for that.  That’s not what we’re gonna deal with.  It’s basically period, none of their business what’s going on in our household, how we run our household, or the decisions we make.  They have absolutely no say so in it.”

What advice would you give a couple who are preparing to get married?

Alfred:

“I think celibacy is a great choice because you learn so much about your partner.  You’re forced to learn about your partner because of course, sex can lead to so many things.  Sex can just cover up so many things.  You can sex your way out of an argument or disagreement, but if you take sex out of the equation, then you’re forced to deal with it.  You see how your partner deals with certain situations.  It just gives you a better outlook to see if that person is the right fit for you.

I would also suggest that you do a lot of talking.  Do a lot of just figuring each other out.  That’s the time when basically before you give that person that job, you’re going through a process of trying to figure out if they’re the one for that job.  That is a very serious time because once you give them that job, it’s supposed to be their job for the rest of their life.  You have to make sure that you are getting the most qualified person to go on this journey with you because if you don’t, then it’s going to be harder than it would be if you were a perfect fit for someone.

This marriage thing is hard, period.  No matter if we share the same interests or we’re two level headed people that don’t argue much, it’s still going to bring it’s of fair situations in which you’re going to have to compromise or they’re going to have to compromise.  So, it’s best that you find somebody who is more qualified to deal with that than not or someone who is willing to grow.  That’s important because there’s a lot of growing in marriage or in a relationship in general.”

I really enjoyed chatting with both Sherrell and Alfred Duncan.  They were both so down to earth and transparent.  They really shinned light on a lot of common issues in marriages today.  Alfred and Sherrell both gave some really great advice to assist in creating and keeping a solid foundation in marriage.  I pray that God continues to bless them through their years together as husband and wife and through their businesses as well.

If you would like to purchase one or both of their books, you can do so by going to www.foreverduncan.com.  To sign up for virtual personal fitness training with Sherrell, you can go to www.thegoodthick.com.  Sherrell’s “Dear Self” webinar is available at www.creatingdynamiclifestyles.com.  Guys, if you need a little help putting together an even for that special someone, you can head over to www.duncanmanplanning.com and Alfred will get you all the way together.  You can also follow them on both Facebook and Instagram with the handle @Foreverduncans. The Duncan family is also on YouTube under Forever Duncan.

Back to school tips for the mom on a mission

Tips for the Hustling Mom

So, by now the school year is well on its way for many. We’ve depleted our bank accounts on school supplies, uniforms, shoes, and accessories.  We’ve spent late nights washing and styling kinks and curls, laying edges, and early mornings at the barber shop for that perfect lining.  We’ve cried our tears of either happiness of lower grocery and light bills or the sadness of seeing our babies head into another year of growing and learning. So now what? How do we maintain our sanity and structure during this school year without losing our cool?

I’m going to be honest and tell you that when it comes to being organized and maintaining structure during the school year, I’m not the one.   My girls are heading into the second month of school and I can tell you that it has not been easy at all from the long nights of homework and chores and the early mornings of…well, just early mornings (I’m not a morning person at all).  This past month has definitely been a struggle for this mamma.  Don’t get me started on the dreaded carpool line or pushing a smile through to greet teachers when all I want to do is crawl back into my warm bed.  I’ve been a one woman show lately with a recent change in my husband’s work schedule and here are just a few things that have helped me along the way for the last few weeks.

Pray Consistently

First and foremost, prayer is essential not only during the school year, but every day, all day.  We as parents have got to ensure that our children are covered continuously.  Too much is going on in the world these days that praying is a must.  Instill in them that no matter who is watching, they should always pray.  Instead of being embarrassed, they should be a light unto others and may even influence someone else at the lunch table.  I pray with my girls before we leave out in the morning and make sure we say our prayers before bed.  They never let me forget to make sure we pray before the night is over.  We pray for grace and favor with good grades in school, good behavior, and that we all come home safely.  Of course, we pray for dad and travelling mercies as he’s on the road during the late nights and early mornings.  Consistent prayer is the true key to keeping things afloat.

Make preparations ahead of time

This may sound cliche and I’m sure many of you already do this, but not all of us are “Susie homemakers.”  This is a task that I’ve only just gotten into the habit of doing not only for my children, but for myself as well.  Making preparations for pretty much everything ahead of time has turned out to be pretty beneficial and narrowed down our time getting ready in the morning.

Select the week’s worth of outfits and uniforms and iron them ahead of time.  The simple task of picking out what to wear can sometimes become time consuming in the morning when you can’t find that matching sock or you notice that your favorite blouse is wrinkled.  Make sure that all of the essentials are laid out with each outfit for yourself and the kids, including jewelry and even hair bows.  I’m telling you from experience that having to hunt down even the smallest of items can take up a large amount of time.  Every second counts!

 

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Pack lunch the night before.  I allow my oldest daughter to pack her own lunch.  It gives her a sense of responsibility and she chooses what she puts in her lunch bag, so I know she’ll eat everything.  I also meal prep my lunches for the week.  This saves me a lot of money verses eating out everyday.  I may create a post specifically geared toward meal prepping in the future.

Meal preparation is essential for my household for both lunch and dinner.  I choose to take advantage of my weekends off and throw some food in a crock pot and in the oven for the week. Sometimes I’ll prepare more than one meal and even freeze some of the food for another time.  I also buy pre-seasoned meats, and packaged sides sometimes to make things a little easier on myself.  Now, this does not happen every week.  As much as I love to eat, I’m not a fan of cooking and sometimes I just don’t have the time.  I keep hot dogs, chicken nuggets, and lunch meat handy for those nights when I need to fill little bellies quick like when there is bible study or a parent/teacher conference.  Sometimes I even make breakfast for dinner like grits and eggs or even pancakes.  As long as they eat and are satisfied, I’m happy.

Unwind Before the Grind

I allow my children a chance to calm down and relax a little before starting up homework.  My girls are in school for eight hours, so when we get home, I let them have a small snack and play for a while to unwind.  I find this helps when it comes time to do homework and they’re not as frustrated with completing the task of getting those motor skills going.  It also allows me to unwind from my work day and be able to move forward with “mommy mode.”  During that time, I usually start on warming up dinner and I check my e-mails.

Don’t stress the small stuff

I remember running around like a mad woman years ago when my oldest first started school.  I use to stay up until the middle of the night mopping floors and scrubbing toilets just to maintain the household.  Yes my house was spotless, but I lost out on sleep and time with my children.  So now, I don’t stress over things that can be done the following day.  The goal in the end is to make sure that my children are fed and bathed, hair combed, homework is complete, and they have clean clothes to wear.  I make sure that I put time aside to just sit with them and talk about their day.  I learn about their new friends at school or any concerns they may have and let them know that I’m available and I’m listening.  I never want my daughters to feel as though they were put on the back burner.

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The amount of time and love you invest in your children will yield so many great things in the future.  Keep pushing for an amazing school year and continue to speak life to yourselves and your children and they make steps to becoming scholars.  It won’t be easy, but it is always worth it.  Leave a comment below and let me know what tips and tricks you use to the ball rolling during the school year.

 

 

Tuesday Topic: Self-Image

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Someone told me I was beautiful today.  She said there was something about my smile and the way that I articulated myself when I spoke.  She told me I am bold and full of confidence. She told me that I was enough because God was enough.  She told me that I was created in God’s image and that the likeness of Him that I carried seemed to light up the room.   She told me that my freckles danced with every smile.  I smiled on the outside, but on the inside, my head hung down in disbelief because I did not feel like those words held any truth.  As I looked to the eyes staring back at me in my broken mirror, all I could do was smile at the girl who handed out compliments in the form of bright yellow and hot pink sticky notes.  I put on my red lipstick, filled in my untamed brows and walked with her words whistling in my ears.  With each step, I became that person she spoke so highly of.

“So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” – Genesis 1:27

This month on the “Tuesday Topic,” we’re discussing self-image.  A lot of us walk around like we are so full of confidence, but on the inside we see an image of a person we do not want identify with.  So many women are in competition with one another to the point that they are actually tearing themselves down.  They cover up behind pounds of makeup, extensions, and fancy clothes and create this outer shell of manufactured self-acceptance.

Sticky Notes

At one point in my life, I literally depended on sticky notes to get me through the day.  I posted these notes with scriptures, affirmations, and words of encouragement all over my house, my car, and my purse.  I would find these notes stuck to my children and crumpled up or torn in random places.  I’d dust each one off, unfold them and place them back in their designated place.

Yep, I was broken.  So much so, that I felt that a few sticky notes would literally keep me together.  I truly broke out of that place in my life one day when I realized that my encouragement was within.  God did not create me in broken pieces but he created me as this whole person with a whole purpose.  He created me in the likeness of His own image which is an honor.  I got tired of piecing myself together and acting as if everything was fine while not really dealing with how I felt about myself.

You are okay!

I’m saying all of this to say that we must be able to get to this place in our lives as women where our smile is purely a smile and the words “I’m okay” are just that, not two words masking an inner scream.  When we look ourselves in the mirror, we must be able to look at ourselves the way that God sees us.  In love, grace, and compassion.  It took me to fall a few times and literally lose some hair to realize that I absolutely love this woman I see in the mirror.    I realized that I was hand crafted by my created and what I might have seen as a flaw was His imperfect perfection.   I’ve literally just gotten to the point where I can go out in public without filling in my eyebrows.  Yes, that is a true accomplishment for me.  I’ve learned to embrace my insecurities over time and turn them into what I love the most about myself.  Many women deal with issues of self-image on a regular basis and it’s not an easy hill to climb.

“Before I knew you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you.  I ordained you a prophet to nations.” – Jeremiah 1:5

While dealing with my own issues on how I saw myself, I realized that I needed to make sure that my daughters did not have the slightest opportunity to feel the same way I did.  I’ve learned to not only speak life over myself, but over them and to them as well.  This world outside of our household can be an ugly place and we must make sure that our daughters are equipped for what’s out there.  My daughters know that they are beautiful both inside and out and that they are intelligent and loved.  We write each other love notes and whisper compliments in each other’s ears.  We play dress up and makeup artist and have a “girl’s night out” every weekend.  They know that they are the most beautiful girls in my world.  They know that they are capable of doing all things.

My shadows saved me

I watch how my oldest wants to be like me.  She dresses like me and follows my every step.  These girls are part of the reason why I love myself so much more.  They see me in a light that I would not normally see myself in.  They are my shadows and follow my every move.  They encourage me and find beauty in my flaws whether I’m “dolled up” or dressed down.  Who knew a 4-year-old and a 7-year-old could teach me so much about myself?

What do you see when you look at your reflection in the mirror.  What is your perception of yourself.  How can you change that perception? What do you do to encourage yourself each day?   Let’s talk about it in the comments.

 

 

Father’s Day Buying Guide

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Father’s Day is less than a week away and your sitting here still at your computer wondering what to get that special guy in your life.  No worries.  I’ve got you covered.  I’ve come across some awesome small businesses created by some  amazing women that can take care of that issue for you.  Guess what?  These gifts won’t break the bank and you’ll be coming back for more.  Let’s take the time out this year to support those in our community that don’t get the recognition they deserve when it comes to the phenomenal work they put in behind the scenes each day.  Below are a few of my favs that are offering some pretty dope products for Father’s Day.  Check them out and let me know what you think.

  1. Mess In A Bottle- Dad Mug, Dad Shirt  www.messinabottle.com

 

  1. Silksations Creations Regal for Men Body Butta & Body Scrub

www.etsy.com/shop/silksationscreations

Regal Scrub

  1. Crafts By Meesha- The Dad Box https://www.facebook.com/craftsbymeesha

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4. Fleurty Wick Candle- Hand poured soy candles “Man Cave Collection” www.fleurtywick.com


5. Koils By Nature- Natural Men’s Care Products

http://koilsbynature.shopgate.com

6. Keys of Beauty- BeardTiFULL Beard Oil

www.keysofbeauty.com

7. Monnie and Me

 t-shirts, Mugs, & aprons

http://www.monnieandme.com/

Self-Care- Invest In Yourself

 

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Self-Care

As women, mothers, wives, business owners, and so much more, we tend to forget about ourselves as we continuously tend to the needs of others.  We work from sun up to sun down working for either ourselves or others just to make ends meet.  We are personal chefs as we prepare meals and pack lunches.   We are hair stylists on a daily in the salons of our kitchens.  We are accountants balancing our checkbooks and creating and maintaining monthly household budgets.  We are teachers, chauffeurs, and doctors all by trade.  You get where I’m going with this.  We are superwomen, or at least we think we are.  Even superheroes have weaknesses.  Although we feel as if we can conquer the world and then some, we have to realize that at some point we will weaken without taking care of ourselves.  As I’m writing this I’m sitting in my bed with a bad cold.  I hardly ever take off of work, but I decided that my health was much more important than a job that can replace me with a snap of a finger.  I’d rather take a day or two to rest up than to end up in an even worse condition because I didn’t take enough time for myself and my own health.

“There just aren’t enough hours in a day.” 

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day who shared my same views and feelings when it comes the above statement.  There really just aren’t enough hours in a day.  We begin to slowly fall apart at the seams when we don’t take enough time for ourselves.  Our hair isn’t done, we forget to shave, I even forget to eat at times.  We continue to make doctor appointments for the kids while we push our own aside and just drink a glass of orange juice.  It just comes naturally to make sure that everyone and everything else is priority over ourselves.

Self-care is extremely necessary for the betterment and elongation of your life.  You have to treat yourself at all costs.  No, I don’t mean strictly money when I say” at all costs.”  There are so many different ways that we can allow ourselves self-care without spending a dime or even leaving the home.  Just know and understand that if you don’t take care yourself, you won’t be able to care for anyone else in the future.  By all costs, I mean that when you decide to take time for yourself, stand firm make and sure that you take that time no matter what is going on or how full your schedule may seem.

The advice that I gave my friend was this:

“You should schedule mandatory time for yourself, whether it’s an hour each day or one day each week.  Do something that makes you happy and don’t let anything or anyone come in between that time you set aside for yourself.  Set a day to get your hair done or nails.  You have got to treat yourself.  No one will do it as well as you would.”

 

Here are a few examples of the many things you can do to provide self-care:

 

Take a bubble bath:

This might seem really simple, but if your life is anywhere near as hectic as mine then you’ll understand that this is actually a luxury.  I can barely take a shower or use the restroom without little people calling my name or sticking their fingers under the door seal.  Sometimes I even open up the shower curtain to find my children sitting on the toilet seat or the bathroom floor just waiting patiently for me… (insert side eye emoji).  To actually be able to run bath water without toys floating in it or bubble gum scented bubbles is a major accomplishment.  So, yes, take a bubble bath ladies.  This is completely free and so relaxing.  You can pretend you’re at a spa in your own home.  Light up some candles, pour in your favorite oil, bath salt, and make a few bubbles.  Light a few candles and if you really want to get fancy, throw in some rose pedals and play some music.  You can thank me later.

Reading is fundamental:

If you are an avid reader like myself, then this would be a great way to relax yourself.  Pick a time each day where you stop everything and read a few chapters of your favorite book.  Maybe even make it a goal to read one book a month so that you make sure you are getting your reading time in.  For me, reading takes me to another place, whether fiction or non-fiction.  I can imagine myself in inside of world full of the words that my eyes are surrounded by and take a step out of the normal just for a little while.

Date Yourself:

Some people think that it may be embarrassing to go out to eat by yourself.  I use to feel that way.  Bring your headphones or your favorite book and date yourself.  Put on a cute outfit, fix your hair, and take yourself to your favorite restaurant when you actually make free time.  Go see a movie alone.  Bring a small blanket or comfy sweater and enjoy.  I think the best time is during the matinee hours when the tickets are cheap and plenty of seats are available.

We often waste time waiting on others to be able to go out, whether it’s a friend or friends, boyfriend, or husband.  There were plenty of times that I’ve made plans with others weeks ahead of time and something would come up that forced me to cancel.  Ladies, you know that we like to buy a new outfit and get our hair and nails done as we anticipate that one day where we finally get to step out of the house.  Being with company is great, but we also need to take time out to get to know ourselves by ourselves.

Make a nail/hair appointment

This does not have to be every week, but just often enough to be able to treat yourself and feel like a woman again. You don’t have to break the bank at all.  Even getting your ends trimmed or a simple polish change can make a pretty big difference in my opinion.  Most of the time I do my own hair and nails, so when I actually make an appointment, it’s a pretty big deal and I feel extra afterwards.  You can’t tell me a thing when I walk out of the nail shop.

Work out/Eat right:

Self-care is so much more than just taking care of our flesh.  We can always cover ourselves up with makeup, nail polish, a cute hair style, and a bomb outfit, but if we don’t work on ourselves internally, all of that will be for nothing.  Take the time out to make simple changes to your eating habits and add physical activity to your schedule.  Start small by doing simple exercises 20 to 30 minutes a day.  Make small changes in your eating by switching to healthier options like wheat bread instead of white and increasing your water intake.  It’s all possible with baby steps.

Spend Time on Prayer and Meditation:

While I’m on the topic of taking care of your inner person, let’s talk about prayer and meditation.  Prayer and meditation is most definitely essential.  If it’s the only thing you do, it would be beneficial to your life in the best way.  Wake up an hour earlier in the morning or stay up a little later after the kitchen is shut down and the kids are asleep.  The key here is to make time.  Take the time out to not only pray, but to listen for a response from God.  We spend a lot of time talking and not enough listening for answers from Him.  Use this time to release your burdens on the Lord, meditate on His goodness and mercy for all that He has done and is doing in your life.  Play some worship music and just praise His name.  You will find so much peace in this moment or the day that nothing or no one can take away your joy.  Command your day to be well despite what is to come and you will walk in perfect peace.  I promise you that this is nothing but the truth.  We spend so much time on everything else and can never seem to make time for God in our lives.  Put Him first and everything will follow.

 

This list can really go on for forever.  The main goal when it comes to self-care is doing something that you love or that you desire the most that benefit you.  This thing is something that would take you away from the usual tasks of your world just for a moment.  Taking time for yourself should allow you to relax, breathe, and think for once.  No longer let the worries of how the bills will get paid, or the car trouble, or even how you’re going to get that permanent marker out of the walls (seriously, suggestions are welcome).  Schedule your me time and stick to it. You can thank me later.  You deserve it!

 

What ways do you instill self-care in your life?  What are some things that you have always wanted to do but never can?  Leave a comment below.  Let’s talk about it.