Update

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It’s been a bit of a ghost town here as of late and I apologize! I’ve felt so guilty about leaving my blog on the back burner while I handle personal matters, but I’m still here guys and with an update! A couple of weeks back, I talked about feeling overwhelmed with figuring out my next move and what I’m doing with my life. I have all these dreams and goals. There’s so many things I feel like I am good at, but I felt so flustered trying to figure out which path I should pursue. I decided to bite the bullet and jump at an opportunity that was presented to me and your girl is officially an ATL at my Whole Foods Market.

It’s a really big deal because I was full of doubts. Am I ready for this position? Do I have what it takes? Am I emotionally stable enough to handle the stress that can come from a leadership position such as this one? I was constantly comparing myself and my progress to the other candidates. At the end of the day, it was my team members who vouched for me and encouraged me to blossom into this leadership position. I am so excited but most of all, I have never felt so cared for and supported by a group of people I work with. I am so thankful. So so thankful and ready to take on this challenge.

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Wishing On A Star: House Plants Edition

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The weather is warming up, I’m wearing less layers and it’s safe to say we made it, guys. The worst is over now! Although this winter was pretty mild, I’ve had spring on my mind since early November. As some of you may know, I have a thing for plants. They’re a great addition to brighten up any living space plus it feels good to care for them and watch them flourish. The only problem is it’s so hard to find tropical ones when it’s nearly 20 degrees out.  So here’s some tropical plants I have my eye on this spring. They’re all generally easy to care for, sun loving babies.

1. Monstera Deliciosa

2. String of pearls

3. Rubber plant

4. Bird of paradise

Do you have a spring time wish list? I’d love to hear!

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The Break up: Best Friend Edition

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Maybe it starts with your friend moving to a new city and they aren’t texting back like they used to. Different schedules and new priorities make it hard to time conversations just right and you begin to hear from them less. Or maybe there was an argument; something unforgivable was said. You’re usually the voice of reason, but this time you’re too fed up to take the high road. Or maybe nothing in particular happened. Maybe you woke up one day and realized it’s been months since you’ve heard from your best friend.

We’ve all experienced the pain of ending a friendship yet theres this weird silence when it comes to talking about the heartache associated with this sort of loss. It’s almost as if we aren’t expected to mourn. (or at least not talk about it.)

Over the last couple of years, I’ve found myself growing distant and eventually losing the intimate bonds I had to people who were so close to me. Some friendships faded so effortlessly that I don’t have an explanation as to why it fell apart. Some friendships were toxic and one sided so they had to end. Either way, it didn’t make letting go any easier. I see their favorite animal and think of them. I’ll be somewhere minding my business when a song will play and remind me of a special moment we shared. I still feel like I carry bits and pieces of all my best friends with me.

Life has a funny way of going on, whether you’re ready or not. On one of my best friend’s birthday, I was sitting in Chaifetz arena with another friend. I was watching the basketball game and enjoying his company, but all I could think about was how it’s her birthday and we haven’t spoken in months. That night I went on Facebook to send her well wishes only to find out I was no longer on her friends list.

I guess what I want you to take from this is it’s ok to mourn losing a friend. It’s ok to miss them and even feel the urge to reach out. Just like with any breakup, it’ll get easier. Until then, be gentle with yourself. Figure out what values are important to you when it comes to friends. Be a better friend to the people you still have around you.

With all the craziness that life can throw your way, having a friend is a blessing to be cherished. Certain chapters have to end so new ones can begin. Have you ever had a best friend break up?

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Natural Deodorant: A Girls Quest Towards One That Works

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There’s a couple names for this smell. Musky. Frowzy. Funky. Whatever you want to call it, there’s no mistaking it. Body odor is literally the worse. I think I should preface this by saying without antiperspirants, I’m sort of a mess. I can be sitting around not doing much but still sweating my butt off. It’s frustrating and something I’m very self conscious about. I’ve also been weary of trying natural deodorants because I didn’t think they’d do me justice but I’m low key on this quest to live a more healthier life. What’s the point of eating all natural everything if I’m just going to rub aluminum and other no-no’s on my body?

Most traditional drugstore deodorants contain aluminum and other parabens that have been linked to cancer, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease. Although these findings are all inconclusive, it’s enough to make me want to back away and find a more natural alternative. (*Disclaimer: This blog receives no payment or other compensation for advertising/reviews. All product was purchased by me.) Without further ado, here’s the deodorants I tried so you don’t have to.

Tom's Wild lavender natural deodorant

Tom’s Of Maine Wild Lavender Deodorant $4.99

This is the first natural deodorant I’ve ever tried. It doesn’t work but damn it I wanted it to. Everyday for a week I applied this sucker hoping that maybe my body just had to adjust to a natural alternative. It also didn’t really smell like lavender to me either. After an hour of wearing this, I smelled like a musky flower and shied away from lifting my arms up in fear of someone else noticing. (Twenty four hour protection where?!) I also didn’t keep my receipt so I was out of $5 and still smelly.  Rating 0/10 does not recommend, not even for my worst enemy.

nubian hertitage coconut papaya natural deodorant

Nubian Heritage Coconut Papaya 24 Hour Deodorant $6.99

I wanted to like this one so bad. Nubian Heritage is black owned and I’m all about supporting black businesses. Unfortunately, after wearing this for maybe 25 minutes, my arm pits were really irritated. They were so irritated that I rushed to the bathroom and tried to wash it off in the sink. When I went to return it, the clerk at the store told me that sort of irritation usually happens if you have freshly shaved armpits. I actually don’t shave under my arms very often so I’m not sure what that was about. Nubian Heritage has a bar of soap with the same scent and it is absolutely fabulous. I’ll keep buying that but this deodorant gets a no from me. Rating 4/10 but I think maybe I just have sensitive armpits? Take my experience with a grain of salt.

schmidts fragrance free natural deodorant

Schmidt’s Natural Fragrance Free Deodorant Jar $10.99 

I’ve only been using this one for a week and a half, but I feel like it might be a winner. Schmidt’s is interesting because it’s literally a paste in a jar that you scoop up with a cute little spatula. You warm it between your fingers, smear it on your underarms, and you’re good to go! It takes a little trial and error though. There was one day where I smelled a hint of funk coming through but I’m pretty sure it’s because I wasn’t applying enough. Now I do the recommended pea size amount and I’m left smelling fresh all day. I even smelled fine after running three miles. Rating 9/10  I wish the application process was easier but it works! ( *update: Schmidts now has a deodorant stick!)

 

Jason Purifying Tea Tree Deodorant Stick $9.99

This one wasn’t terrible. The label says “clinically tested and all day odor protection” but one of those statements simply isn’t true. To be fair, without antiperspirants, I’m a very stinky girl; the kind you don’t take home to mother (unless I’ve showered and have my Secret powder fresh in tow.) Anyhow, it was really nice to apply and I made it through most of my day at work without smelling too bad. I just know if I amped up the activity, it wouldn’t make it. This is good for days when you’re just running a couple errands or laying in bed watching Netflix aka not doing much. Rating 6/10 doesn’t work well enough for me but I’m also smelly so *shrugs*

I’ve read cool things about taking chlorophyll to deodorize the body. Have you ever dabbled in the natural deodorant realm? Tried any I didn’t mention? I’d love to hear. – XO

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Self Love Sunday

 

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This week has been one of the hardest ones I’ve had in awhile. Honestly though, nothing excruciatingly awful happened. I just felt overwhelmed with feelings and figuring out my next move. There’s all these goals I want to accomplish; all these things I want to be. I’m not always sure if every decision I make is beneficial to my end goal and it doesn’t help that I am the queen of overthinking. Sometimes I wish I had someone in my corner cheering me on and reassuring me during the moments I’m full of doubt. Sometimes I wish I had someone who’d say, “Hey you’ve been working really hard lately. Here’s some flowers. Here’s a plant. I know you’re trying your best. I appreciate you.” I’m slowly learning to be that person to myself.

I think in the end, things pan out the way they’re suppose to or at least thats what I keep telling myself. This evening after work, I bought myself some flowers and told myself that every “set back” is an opportunity for growth and I am growing into the woman I am destined to be.

This week I’m challenging myself to use positive affirmations whenever I feel frazzled. Have you ever used positive affirmations to adjust your mindset? I’d love to hear your favorites! xo

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“Is That Your Real Hair?” And Other Microaggressions

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When I moved out to the midwest, I had no idea what to expect. If someone were to ask me what I thought it would be like, I’d ignorantly say fields full of corn, farmers with straw hats and plaid; lots and lots of plaid. Obviously that isn’t true. St. Louis is a major metropolitan city! But unlike the ones I’ve called home in the past, I deal with a lot of microaggressions here.

Simply put, a microaggression is behavior that unconsciously or consciously insults a marginalized group. I’ve tried to write it off as a lack of knowledge or unintentional ignorance on our white counterparts, but it happens so frequently that this subtle form of prejudice is literally driving me insane. Here’s three things I wish white people would stop doing.

Stop saying “I don’t see color”

I am a woman. I am also black and I wouldn’t have it any other way. When you say you don’t see that very important part of me, it isn’t a compliment. Not seeing the color of my skin pretty much erases my identity, my culture and the way I experience the world. Look, no matter how dismissive you may want to be about race/racism, it still exists. Seeing color isn’t bad. Judging someone based on that one premise is. (Also isn’t it funny how the same person who’ll go on and on about not seeing color will quickly mention that one black friend they have if someone even hints at them being racist? Hmm.) Which leads me to the next thing.

Stop mixing black people up with each other.

There are three black women on my team at work, including myself. Even though there’s a small number of us, coworkers constantly confuse one of us for the other. We don’t look anything alike. We have different styles of hair and body types yet every morning I am called by someone else’s name. It isn’t a isolated incident, even clients would do it. When you can’t tell the difference between a few black women but have no problem identifying the 30+ other white ones on the team, there’s a issue. (side note:I read an article about the other race effect” that kind of explains why this is a thing. To sum it up, it basically says that if you spend most of your time with only people of your own race, you’ll have issues identifying people from other cultures/ those who do not look like you. It’s a cool read if you have a second.)

Stop denying your privilege. 

When you go to a salon to get your hair done, you can almost guarantee that everyone in the salon is knowledgable in regards to your hair type. If you go to a makeup artist, you don’t worry about that person having the right shade of foundation. These are both privileges. When people hear the word privilege, they get on the defensive. I’ve had to work for everything I own! Nothing was ever handed to me! Privilege doesn’t always have to pertain to wealth. Having constant and multifaceted representation of your race in society and media is privilege. Being apart of the dominant group is a privilege. There’s no reason to feel guilt when these points are brought up because honestly, we all benefit from privilege in some way. But how can we level the playing field if there is a denial of it being tilted towards one groups advantage?? (Franchesca Ramsey talks about privilege a lot better than me on MTV’s Decoded.)

Some microaggressions are so subtle that neither parties may realize what is going on. The stranger who asked me if my hair was real (and was shocked when I told her yes) probably didn’t think anything of asking such a question, but I am left feeling as if I am abnormal. I have a feeling if I was another race, I wouldn’t of been asked that.

Have you found yourself on the receiving end of a microaggression? Let’s chat.

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You’re Right Where You’re Suppose To Be.

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This week I did something I haven’t done in seven months. I went running! Well to be really real, it was actually a walk-jog. I got injured a couple of months ago and I’ve been too scared to put my all into running again in fear of re-injuring myself. This post isn’t really about that (mini) success but rather how barren it was outside.

Everything in the park was dead and I didn’t see another person for miles. I think I counted maybe three people in total while I was out there. The last time I went running along this trail was late July-early August of last year; before the trees fell bare and the grass tinged a straw-like yellow. The desolate vibe I was getting from my surroundings made me think of a quote I saw floating around on Tumblr. I’m not sure of the exact wording but it’s along the lines of: Be patient with yourself. Nothing in nature blooms all year long, so do not expect yourself to do so either.

straw-like grass

It was a much needed reminder to be easy with myself that I feel I should pass along to my readers. Periods of dormancy is so necessary. Sometimes we get so caught up with life that we forget to take care of ourselves. We forget that we don’t have to do it all. We forget that nothing blooms all year round and we don’t have to either. In a couple of weeks, everything will be green and the tulips and dandelions will be back (hopefully the love bugs wont get the memo). Stop living in the past and don’t worry about the future too much. Take care of yourself until it’s time for you to bloom again.

When you’re feeling stagnant, do you beat yourself up?

(hint: you shouldn’t)

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Curb Those Unhealthy Social Media Habits

We’ve all been there, scrolling through our social media feeds and seeing posts from a friend whose life looks like a complete fairy tale. A feeling of awe may fall over you, maybe even a mild sense of jealousy. Meanwhile, you’re still not entirely sure what path you want to take. Or maybe you just started following your dreams and you’re in the ugly phase. Repeat after me: no one has it all together. Now lets breathe a sigh of relief that you aren’t alone.

Sometimes it’s really easy to see the things that other people are doing and compare our progress to theirs. The problem with that is these posts are just a peep into someones life; a perfectly curated peep that isn’t the whole story. I know this, but I still find myself feeling a tinge of “man I wish I was as ____ as this person.” Or my all time favorite, “look at what this person is doing. I need to get my life together!”

It’s ok to use those posts as motivation but once you start comparing your life to theirs, you already lost. (I was tempted to insert that .gif of Dj Khaled saying “congratulations, you played yourself,” but I’m trying to be serious right now. Ha.)

Instead here’s some tips that helped me when I was struggling with those feelings:

  • Resist the urge to check your feeds first thing in the morning.

I find that starting my day writing about what would make it great and what I’m grateful for sets the tone for the rest day. It also gives me a chance to take note of the progress towards my goals. There’s no feeling like knowing you are on the right track.

  • Feel more content with your life.

Weird feelings can take over once you get a peek into someone else’s life. The best way to combat that is finding solace in your own life. Learn something new. Sign up for that one hobby you were always wanted to try. (I’m trying ceramics) Spend some time with people who allow you to feel comfortable in your skin. Focus on all the great things you have going for you!

  • Give yourself a break.

We are our harshest critics. I vented to a friend because I was feeling down based on one aspect of my life. It took that friend reminding me of all the other great things I’ve done/am doing for me to be like hold up, I’m tripping.

Do you spend a lot of time on social media? Have you ever found yourself comparing your life to someone else’s?

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When’s The Last Time You Did Something That Made You Happy?

A couple of weeks ago I was scrolling through the explore page on instagram when a post caught my attention. I can’t recall who posted it, but it was a graph with two sides for list making; a sort of compare and contrast kinda deal. For list one, you’re suppose to make a list of things that makes you happy. For list two, you’re suppose to make a list of things you do everyday. While I was making this list and comparing the sides, I realized often time I get “caught up” in work, life and family issues that I hardly leave time to do something I enjoy.

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I have a bad habit of laying around on my days off, doing menial chores and mentally preparing myself for the next time I have to work. Today I broke that habit and instead did something I loved! The botanical garden is one of my favorite places here in the city, but I always make excuses on why I never go. It’s too far (not true) I need someone to enjoy it with.(not true) It’s too cold.(and for once, that isn’t true)

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I don’t think I’ve ever walked the entire garden, it’s over 79 acres! But whenever I go, I make sure to visit the Linnean house and the Climatron. The Linnean house is home to mostly cacti, citrus trees and other frost sensitive plants during winter. Honestly though, the real party is at the Climatron.

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The Climatron is pretty much a dome shaped tropical paradise inside the garden. There’s three water falls, wildlife (shout out to the frog that I thought was a funny shaped leaf. It scared the crap out of me) and pretty much every tropical plant you can think of. There’s also a cute section of exotic fruit trees (stuff like papaya, star fruit and passion fruit) information about their origin and how they make it to grocery stores across the country, but I couldn’t get a good picture of any of that because it’s always so crowded in that section.

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Maybe it’s the humidity or the splashing waterfalls but there’s something very peaceful about the climatron and I’m always reminded when I visit. There was an older couple taking pictures by one of the water falls and it was so cute to see the woman fuss on whether or not her companion was getting her good side.
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Due to time constraints, I know it’s not always feasible to do something grand like visiting your favorite place, but it’s so important to make time to do something for yourself. This week I plan on:

  • noticing the beauty in the small moments.
  • concentrating on the things I can control.
  • spending intentional time with loved ones.

Take a moment and really think. What are some things that make you happy? Do you make time for those things?

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