Posted in Caregivers, Caregiving, Encouragement, Family, Health, Inspiration, Lifestyle, People, Relationships, Travel, Women

No Time Like the Present

My longtime girlfriend has been living in Dallas, TX for at least 7 years. She relocated there after accepting a promotion with the company she’d been working for in our hometown.  Once down there, she met her current husband and they’ve since started a family. Dallas is clearly her home now. As most of her family is here in Michigan, she comes to visit once or twice a year. However, her time is usually consumed with family so I never get to spend much time with her.

I don’t know why it never occurred to me to go visit her. Actually…I do.

Before I started visiting my husband on weekends he was out of town for work or attending a conference for my sorority, I was not really into traveling. The only trips that I took my children on was 5 hrs away to Chicago and across the bridge to Canada to enjoy an indoor waterpark. Traveling was not something I fit into my vacation or financial planning.

This past summer a friend invited my son to go on a trip to Disney World with her family. I didn’t want him to miss out on the opportunity but I was hesitant. First, he’d never been on a plane before. Second, he expressed fear about getting on a plane. So I decided that his first flight needed to be with me. Around this same time, I was on the brink of caregiver burnout and didn’t see a way to give myself a real break.

Lo and behold, the company I work for hosts an annual conference in Dallas that I always say that I’d like to attend. Why hadn’t? There was no good reason. So this year I took the opportunity to kill three birds with one stone: attend the conference, visit my friend, and take my son on his first flight.

Everything was awesome. That Dallas September heat was no joke but it was so good to be away from home. To be a guest in my friend’s home. To wake up on Saturday morning and not have to think about what I was going to cook for breakfast for myself or anyone else! My friend and her husband took good care of us.

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My son in the co-pilot seat

 

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A round of miniature golf in the hot Dallas son with my friend’s family
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Go-Kart racing
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Partial group family pic…my friend’s husband was MIA
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Taking a break from the conf. Enjoying a book in the pool
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My son getting his swim on
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Mom & Son chilling at the pool

The question that repeated through my head was, “Why’d it take you so long to do this?”

I have another girlfriend who’s been living in Atlanta for the last 7 yrs. Besides going down for her wedding five years ago, I haven’t been there for a real visit. After I visit family in Tennessee next year, Atlanta will be my next stop.

It’s funny how, in theory, we know that tomorrow is not promised. Still, we tend to live our lives like we have all the time in the world. My husband’s diagnosis with a life-threatening illness changed my perspective. Although  supporting him through this illness doesn’t allow me to a lot of time to do as much as I’d like, I still make a point to do as much as I can.

Is there anything you’re putting off for tomorrow that you need to be doing today? Share in the comments  below.

Naturally Yours,

L.A.

 

Posted in Encouragement, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Women

My First Day of School

back to schoolAm I really doing this? I thought on the 5 minute drive from my job to the campus of Wayne State University. While I know students of all ages attend the multi- cultural institution located in the heart of Detroit, all I could see were the people who looked young enough to be my children.

Here I am, weeks away from my 42nd birthday, attending my first upper level undergraduate English course. But it’s been a long time in the making. Approximately 10 years.

For the last several years I’ve been bouncing back and forth between Wayne State University and Oakland University’s graduate English programs. And, if I’m honest, their Journalism and Communication programs, too. Indecisiveness played a big part as to why it’s taken me so long to make this move. But fear was the biggest obstacle.

Why do I want to do this? What benefit will I gain? Will my life improve? What am I going to do with it? Do I have time for this?

These questions and more had me like a mouse stuck on the spinning wheel. Like that piece of cheese the mouse is chasing, this desire has remained dangling in front of my eyes, within arms reach. It was just a matter of reaching for it and grabbing it.

At this stage of the game I’m not sure if I’m going to pursue another graduate degree. I already have one of those…an MBA. According to my aunt, Dr. Wilson, “In education, you keep moving forward.” I’d be lying if I said there isn’t a simmering desire to earn such a distinguished level of education.

Before I can seriously entertain a doctorate in English, I need to get some upper level English courses on my record and recommendations from recent academic sources, hence, my Intro to Rhetoric & Writing class this fall semester.

I can’t tell you how excited I am. An item crossed off my 2017 goals. We’re only on the second week of class and I’ve already plotted out classes for 2018.

When I was introduced to the character of Jalessa, the oldest student–a recently divorced, mother ( I think)–on campus from A Different World, it never crossed my mind that that could be me. In retrospect, that was clearly a major  purpose of her character, to show that although life circumstances can knock us of course, we can always make our way back.

Not a do over, I like to say, but a do now. There’s no time like today to pursue a dream.

What dream are you chasing? Share in the comments below. If you can read this post, there’s no time like now to take that first step.

Til Next Time,

L.A.

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Posted in Fitness, Health, Lifestyle, Women

Wellness Wednesday–Loving the Skin You’re In

There’s a fine line between working to change your body and loving the skin you’re currently in. I’ve often wondered if these two ideas can coexist. I want to workout the most when I feel dissatisfied with the physical shape of my body. And the days when I engage in some good self-love talk…”Girl, you look hot in these jeans!” or “Girl, your legs are as toned as when you were 25!” I don’t press myself about going to the gym. In a world that perpetuates the myth that a woman body is supposed to not only carry and birth children into this world and go through the aging process without looking like it, more often than not is has been less of the latter.

However, thanks to my 41 years of living, I’m finally learning to merge the two together into a marriage that works for me. First, I know that the body is not meant to be sedentary. We are supposed to move every day. And not for the 30-60 minutes that fitness experts say because in actuality that is nothing in a 24 hr day! You know it’s true, too. There are times in my work day that I am comfortably planted in my chair doing my work or chatting through our IM system with a coworker when I should be standing up and moving my body while I work. After all, that is why I fought tooth and nail to get this standing workstation so I could do just that. But when everything you need is at your fingertips it takes great strength and resolve to get off of my butt and walk over to talk with a coworker in person or walk around for the sake of walking.

Second, I know that the shape of my body has more to do with what I put in my mouth and genetics than it does exercise. If I had better eating habits (less pastries, no late night eating of buttery popcorn while watching Scandal, and drinking 8-10 glasses of water), I’d easily be down 20lbs. Can I get a “Amen!” You know I’m right.

This is not a spiritually speaking post, but no where in the word of God does He describe beauty by the size of a woman’s waist and the numbers displaying on a scale. Our beauty is defined the purity of our hearts, being kind to others, loving and honoring our husbands,  taking care of our children, using the gifts that He gave us. All that 36-24-36 standard of beauty is from fallen man and we keep falling for it.

Excuse me, I digressed.

I’m not that different from most women. I get green with envy when I see women in my age with slamming bodies. But I remind myself that they are likely blessed with great genetics which neither of us can do anything about. And they probably don’t exercise any more than I do. Well…some do. Some also have surgery to create those fabulous bodies and keep that to themselves. Believe that!

When I’m finished with that I remind myself of how beautiful I am. I look down at my belly,  and instead of frowning, I smile. This is the same belly that housed two beautiful children for 9 months, both born by C-section  surgeries. And guess what, I survived those, surgeries. We take for granted that some women don’t so how dare I be mad about a scar or some loose skin??? Sure,my breast aren’t as firm or perky as they once were but they’re cancer free (hallelujah!) and look awesome in the right bra.

I don’t waste time browsing through clothes that won’t compliment my current figure. Talk about depressing. Instead I look for clothes that are flattering to my extra pounds, accentuating my toned legs and small frame. You can’t help but feel good in clothes that are cute and fit you right.

In the meantime, I will still exercise. Always will. Regular exercise is good for overall health.  It doesn’t have to happen in the gym either. Some of my favorite places to exercise include the staircase in my office building, in a Zumba or with a hula hoop in my living room. For you it might be in a pool, a ballroom or hustle class, or in a park. Whatever you choose, make sure you enjoy it. Your body and mind will thank you for it.

Posted in Beauty, Hair, Hair Styles, Natural Hair, Uncategorized, Women

Roller Set Results

I was petrified walking into Sally’s Beauty Supply, especially after a stressful moment with my son about his report card. It doesn’t take much to over spend in that store. Y’all know how it is? You go in for a bottle of conditioner and come out with some hair clips, a $5 decorative headband, and some fingernail polish.

My target of the day: setting rollers

 

I used 1 1/4 pcks of these

 

Since I’m taking a break from the salon I decided to try a roller set of my hair. Of course that means I was watching YouTube. Anyway, I asked my beautician to do it on my last visit but she discourage me.

“Well you know it’s not going to look like you’re expecting. It’s going to be poofy.”

Not wanting to pay her to give me poofiness I decided this was a style I needed to do myself. I left Sally’s with 3 packs of rod rollers couldn’t pass buy 2 get 1 free); 2 packs of magnetic rollers (intended purchase), and 2 combs. Total cost $21– not the worst total I’ve accumulated  at Sally’s.

Last night was the night. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a pic of the before but here’s the pic of the results.


  
I like it. It’s soft and full of body. All I did was put a flat iron to smooth out the roots.

I tried to maintain the curls with two big Bantu knots, like one You Tuber demonstrated but I only got two days of curls I could wear loose. After that I pulled my hair in a side ponytail for the rest of the week.

Overall this process works great as a means of straightening or stretching my hair without heat. Surprisingly, I was okay sleeping in the rollers and it didn’t tak long to dry.

This method/style will definitely be a staple for me going forward.

Til Next Time,

L.A.

Posted in Beauty, Encouragement, Hair, Hair Styles, Lifestyle, Natural Hair, Uncategorized, Women

April Natural Hair Styling Challenge Day 22

  

This one garnered a lot of attention at work. Surely because it was super cute! Achieved by simply two strand twisting my hair with a little bit of Shea Moisture Styling Milk.

It also garnered as many compliments as it did too because the day before it was, admittedly, on the blah side. And that was because when I twisted it the day before that I was slack on product and oil so the ends were frizz galore.

As the month is coming to an end I’d really like to do something different but with the time I have available in the mornings before work that’s highly  unlikely. What I’ve learned in the challenge is that if my hair is not set in a protective style for the week, the only thing that I’m able to do without a lot of fuss is wear twist outs. On a good day I might have time to spruce it up with a couple of hair pins!  

Nevertheless it’s been a  good run. Every natural girl should take some time to climb out of their comfort zone, get a taste of the unchartered path of their natural hair journey. You just might like it.

Have you tried something different with your hair lately? Please share!

Naturally Yours,

L.A.

Posted in Beauty, Hair, Hair Styles, Lifestyle, Natural Hair, Protective Styling, Women

April Natural Hair Styling Challenge

I really, sorta, kind of wanted to exercise after work yesterday. But since I spent the weekend relaxing with the family, I neglected my weekend errands including grocery shopping. Two days of ordering pizza for dinner was more than enough motivation not to put off the inevitable any longer. So when we reached home at the end of the work day I was running back out on a mission replenish my kitchen for the week. THEN…my hair was screaming for a reprieve. Besides spritzing  with water, I hadn’t done anything to it in over a week. I transitioned from a twist out, to a high puff and I’d planned to see how long I could make it like that but my hair put an abrupt stop to that game plan. 

It was 8 o’clock at night and I did NOT want to bother with hair but I had to–said my hair. I cowashed and spent the least amount of time on my hair on even a cowash day than I ever had. After lazily rubbing a leave-in throughout my hair, I plaited my hair–with thoughts of my natural hair sorority sister who said that’s all she does with her hair–and hoped for the best in the morning. Only thing is, she’s been natural for nearly 10 years so she’s got this stuff down packed. 

I don’t.  :((

First, my hair didn’t dry all the way. Seems no matter how little product I use in my hair, it refuses to dry properly overnight. The only style I could come up with and not be late for work was:

  

I was still cute but, still, the time has come for a new challenge. No more hiding behind twist-outs and protective styles. I MUST learn how to style my hair in a short amount of time, with minimal prep the night before.

Stay tuned!

Naturally Yours,

L.A.

Posted in Beauty, Hair, Hair Styles, Lifestyle, Natural Hair, Uncategorized, Women

Natural Hair Styling Considerations

Sunday. My favorite day of the weekend. With my duties as a trustee at my church, the day can still be a bit busy but nothing like my Saturday’s that are inundated with cleaning I couldn’t get done during  the week, grocery shopping, meetings/events, and/or my son’s activities.This particular Sunday I stayed home from church, spending some quality time with my husband, lounging on the couch watching movies. But as the evening wound down,  I began to consider my hair. 

I wanted nothing more than to spritz it with some water, rub it down with a moisturizer, and then roll and tuck it into a quick style to get me ready for Monday morning. But I knew that wasn’t the way to go for me. Not only are my weekdays too busy to be messing around trying to fix my un-perfected roll and tucks while trying to have dinner for my family AT HOME and be prepared for the next morning so we can leave the house on time (that’s a job in and of itself), I have an all day sorority function this coming Saturday that I need my hair to be ready for.  

“You’re thinking about your hairstyle six whole days in advance?” You’re probably asking.

Absolutely. It’s the best way for me and most new or semi-new naturals to live a hair-frustrated free life. We [naturals] don’t have the luxury of waking up and flat ironing our hair then getting about our day. Let me tell you, there were many weekends when I was frustrated beyond measure having somewhere to go and not enough time to make my hair cute and rock it with confidence. I learned the hard way to plan ahead when I can. Even without set plans for the weekend ahead I usually try to create a low manipulation style for the work week that will easily transition into a style for being out and about.

This week I chose a combination of two strand twist and flat twist. 



The end result of this style will be, of course, a twist out with the flat twist remaining intact for a little added pizazz. I’m looking foward to it and I’m most enjoying the easy upkeep throughout the week.

What’s your go-to style to prepare for work and weekend?

Naturally Yours,

L.A.