My Favorite Things- Dry Brushing

Hey Loves!

Can I just say two things? 1. I never knew I would have a favorite things list. The thought never entered my mind. 2. I never thought I’d be sharing it with you!
Thanks for reading!

Now, let’s get to business. Have you heard of dry brushing? If you haven’t, it is ok. I had no idea what it was or the fact that it was a concept until my friend shared about it in her blog. Mind. Blown.

After reading her post, it occurred to me that we do the Wilbarger Brushing Protocol for our boys and I was shocked to find out something similar existed for adults not presenting with sensory complications. When I read up on the benefits, I couldn’t resist. Off to Target, I went for a drive-up purchase of this Eco Tools body brush. Then, I did thorough research, meaning I watched several YouTube videos, to find a routine that would work for me. Finally, I brushed.

Friends, it felt like I had new skin. Brand-stinking-new skin! For those of you who might be confused, that’s a good thing. I also really enjoy the satisfaction of doing good for my body. I mean, you only get one, so taking care of it is essential.

I typically dry brush about 3-5 times a week. There are times when life happens and I can’t brush as often as I would like. During those times, I crave it. It’s like my body is accustomed to dry brushing and will not stand for less. “Ahhhhhhhhhhhh,” is what my body says after I dry brush. I may or may not audibly join in. Either way, it feels sooooooooooo good!

Do you dry brush? If not, will you start? You must!

Love you. Mean it!!!

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My Favorite Things: Good Nail Polish

Hey Loves!

So, I don’t think I’ve ever defined myself as a “girly girl” but I have always loved nail polish and manicured nails. I remember my first manicure at age 8 and asking for my own cuticle clipper in the sixth grade. Don’t judge me. Anyway, My struggle was nail polish lasting 2.72 seconds from drying until the chipping began.

This continued into adulthood. No matter what I did, how I did them, what top coat I used, 24 hours later my nails looked like that of a 3-year-old who played with markers. But, none the less, I persisted.

I’ve tried professional manicures. No luck. Gel manicures were a game changer but they were expensive, time-consuming to remove and were not the best for my nails. Oh, the agony! Why is this life so hard?!?!?!

 Anyway, perusing Pinterest to escape from reality, I came across a pin saying a nail polish that will really last all week. Because I am a masochist, I believed this could be the answer knowing full-on it was not. Armed with my sally’s coupon, I bought Gelous. Eager to try it, I slapped it on, slapped on nail polish and slapped on another coat. You know, for good measure. A day later, the chipping of my nails and my heart began. So, I gave up. I mean, I gave up on a lot of things at that point but having nice nails was definitely not something I believed was in the cards for me.

Sometime after Mother’s Day (because I got a gel mani for Mother’s Day), I realized how much manicured fingers and painted nails meant to me. Not in a superficial way, but they really delighted my heart. (See judgment clause above because I feel you starting to judge me.) I also wanted to invest in taking care of myself, improving my appearance and making my heart happy. So, I searched Pinterest again for the pin where I first discovered Gelous. You guys, that’s when I realized that not only did I not read the pin I also did not follow any instructions. Not one. *insert several facepalm emojis*

 I was supposed to apply one coat of Gelous, let dry. Repeat. Apply one coat of nail polish and let dry. Gelous. Let dry. Nail Polish. Let dry. So, again, I and my bruised masochistic heart tried it again with those instructions and glory from the heavens! It worked! This manicure, done at home with any color polish ( 5-free of course) lasted an entire week! A week of swimming, cleaning, butt-wiping, dish cleaning, food cooking, floor sweeping and laundry folding. It lasted! Hallelujah!

 As if that wasn’t enough, I got sparks of delight during the day from a manicured nail. Y’all, I AM WINNING! 

Now, here is the kicker: For this to work and work well, I need at least an hour, really like 1.5 hours, where I can do my nails and not mess them up. This requires planning and the setting of real-life boundaries Y’all. So, I do it during nap time when my husband is home. I communicate in maybe not the best way that I am not to be touched or have to touch something and/or someone until further notice. So far, that works.

I haven’t used a top coat because I don’t know of an awesome one. Any recommendations? 

Love you. Mean it.

My Favorite Things: Audio Books

Hey Loves!

So, in my mothering journey, I surrendered. Well, that’s putting it very nicely. Truthfully, I gave up. I gave up on things I loved and adored, like reading. My entire pre-kids life I looked forward to losing myself in a story. Post kids, I really believed I just couldn’t read anymore. I was honestly quite baffled at those who did still read with kids my age. I mean, granted they had typical kids, but still, how? 

Also, if I am being honest, I didn’t want to be stimulated. I didn’t want to learn new things and grow. This should’ve been a red flag, but as you have read, I didn’t pay attention to those. Anyway, after I discovered podcasts, I discovered audiobooks. Again I say, game changer. Audiobooks are a game changer friends. 

Get this- I got them from my local library through apps for FREE (The apps I use are Overdrive and Libby). If this is not the definition of winning, I honestly have no idea what is. So here I am, just sponging up knowledge from my fingertips, any time of day. I’m learning, laughing, crying, pondering, talking… all the things! It is amazing!

There are a few audiobook subscription services that I have heard great things about, I just haven’t gotten to where I can pull that trigger.

I’m really into inspirational, self-improvement and autobiographies at the moment but the sky is limit. I just finished my first fiction book since the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy. I see your judgment of me. Stop it. I’m growing. Sheesh.

Lastly, audiobooks were a gateway drug. Now, via my kindle, I am actually taking the time to read actual words. Y’all, I am on the comeback! Lookout for quotes because they are coming.

What are you reading? How do you read it? I want all the deets!

Love you. Mean it.

My Favorite Things: Podcast

Hey Loves!

It is series time! Woooooooooohooooooo! I am very excited about this series (if you can’t tell.) I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I am taking me back! A year ago, I couldn’t even compose this list. Not only did I not have the headspace for it but I literally did not have favorite things. Yes, that is sad and if you are there, I am extending my hand to you. We will get there together. No, I am not Oprah, but if there is anything Oprah does it is share. So, I am receiving this from her and running with it.

Now, this series, it requires a disclaimer. These are my favorite things. Said things have not paid me or given me free products to be added to this list. Yay! Let’s get started on with the list!

Podcast

Let’s be honest, I am late to the game and that happens often. Any time someone or the world is like, “you should try this!” or, “this is so great!”, I respond with, “eh, I’m not sure that’s for me.” Nonsense. Just…nonsense.

Anyway, in very late March or early April, I was literally taking the first steps of fixing me and I didn’t feel safe with my own voice. (Just go with me on this.) I’d emptied out everything I’ve felt and said to myself for years and all of these new feeling and thoughts were coming from my mind. They were very unfamiliar. So, honestly, I just wanted a familiar voice. A voice that was true, unwavering and a voice I trusted.

So, I put my younger kid in the stroller and grabbed my phone. Hand to God, I have no idea how the podcast app opened. I do remember saying, “Oh! This! This could work. I can do this.”

So, I turned on “For The Love” Podcast with Jen Hatmaker solely because I trusted her voice, rather, I trusted her heart. Y’all, I didn’t even know how podcasts were organized. Somehow, I found one from September 2017 with Glennon Doyle. Oh. My. Word. I referenced her and her greatness in an earlier post but man, oh man, did I need the two of them that day. Then, the floodgates opened. 

I mean, I wasn’t sure about these new voices in my head but I did know I needed a supporting argument for or against what was happening. Enter Podcasts. 

I personally love ones that build all facets of me in any way. I also enjoy ones that are just plain funny. This is also a part of my me-time and I can do them just about everywhere! They have helped me use my headphones. Who knew???

In short, podcasts are amazing. I love them. Do you? If so, which ones? Spill. Now.

Love you. Mean It.

What’s On My Christmas List

Hey Loves!

For those of you who know me, this is not a shock. For those new here: Hi! I LOOOOOOOOOOOVE to plan. Love it. It makes my heart happy and quells my anxiety, so win-win. So, yes, I start planning for Christmas in June. To be fair, I’ve done the whole, “it’s Black Friday? What? Is Christmas coming? Who gets what? Why is this so hard? I’ve spent so much money!” thing before and it ain’t pretty. Also, ugly crying under the tree on Christmas morning because you are pregnant and sad that all that was under the tree for you were pajamas. Albeit, very nice pajamas, but pajamas. That’s it.  

Let’s also talk about not putting ourselves last and #selfcare. You have needs. You have wants. Recognize them and be aware of them. Now, there is nothing wrong with a social media research question proposed in a friendly post. There is certainly not one thing weird about asking Pinterest what you need in your life. If that is what you need, do it!

If you are looking for just a little inspiration, here is what is on my list.

  1. Make-up: Ok, go with me. I still struggle with spending money on myself. That includes good, nice makeup. I will buy elf products that all under $6. I will not buy the vegan black-owned lip gloss that I really really want and desire from my heart for $12. So, that goes on my list. Also, makeup helps me do something nice for myself. I put on some concealer, or foundation, a good lippie, fix my brows and go about my life feeling a bit more esteemed.
  1. Booties: These are so freaking cute and functional. They literally take an outfit from drab to fab. I neeeeeeeeeeeeeed these. Ok, maybe not need but… no, I need them. They can be pricey unless you score a target clearance WHICH I ALWAYS MISS. So, on my list they go.
  2. Airport Hat: Y’all this is surely a want but a hat can save your life. It just can. These new airport hats are all the rave and I can see myself rocking a low bun or old twist-out under it and changing the look of my athleisure or causal attire. Basically, I will wear this hat to death.
  3. Hair products: See number 1. Also, I have a tendency to be a #productjunkie so this saves us all. I research, make a list and send links to prospective buyers.
  4. Amazon Books Gift Card: This is biggie, friends! So, with all of this “finding me”, I have re-discovered books and sis, they some sort of amazing. However, my library doesn’t have everything and I can’t get it immediately. Of course, the homie Amazon has it and I can have it right now. Simple enough right? Nope. This gift is a challenge. I have never had a gift card that some portion of it didn’t go to something for my kids. This card will not. I am stating this you with both feet planted firmly on the ground. I commit this pledge with my whole heart and a sound mind. God be with me.

 

That’s it! Is that everything I want. Uh, no. I’m an American so I want all the things but these are reasonable gifts that will keep on giving. What do you think? What is something you really want? Is there something I forgot? Please tell me.

 

Love you. Mean it.

Self-Care: What That Really Looks Like

Hey Loves!

So, let’s talk about #selfcare. No, really, we need to because everyone needs it. For so very long, I thought that wasn’t for me. You know, I didn’t have time for an hour-long bath, weekly mani-pedis were not an option. So, I couldn’t participate, right? WRONG. Very VERY wrong!

 

If you ask me, self-care is a fluid movement in which certain practices enable you to be the best you and/or improve yourself. I should copyright that. That was a taste of the awesomeness that comes straight from my head that no one gets to hear because I am in negotiations in tiny dictators 90 percent of the time.

I digress. (this is becoming a theme…) My apologies.

So, self-care, what does that look like? Well, for starters, it looks different for most. It may be keeping your A/C temps very low. It could also be being around people who hold you accountable so you don’t do that harming activity.

For me, it is making time to do my nails. It is also investing in me. So, if that is spending $1.99 on a book I want but also carving out the time to read and reflect on said book. It is sometimes making my plate first to ensure I eat. (*see tiny dictators reference above). Being aware of my water intake-oh my word! How dehydrated I was! I also make sure I have time with friends and time to myself in the evenings-very small but extremely achievable and effective things that I can do regularly that improve my mood, my health, and my self-esteem. Things that expand my knowledge and encourage me to be more self-aware. 

Also, I tried baths. I like them but I can’t every week. It is a lot of water and a lot of cleaning after.

What does self-care look like for you? I’m dying to know.

Love you. Mean it.

My Morning Me-Time

Hey Loves!

So, we talked about why I get up at 5:30 a.m. What do I do with that time?

Well, getting up at 5:30 gives me 1.5-2 hours before Jude wakes up and, according to him, he only wants me… I’m not joking. Sometimes I can hear him scream, “No! MOMMY!” When my husband goes to get him. I digress-. My bad.

So, I get up, get dressed, brush my teeth and head downstairs. I grab my Snuggie (don’t judge me), do a devotional, meditate, pray, do a journal entry, listen to a podcast, book, or both, sometimes work out and write.

I made that sound really easy, right? Sounds are deceiving!!!!

Let’s start from the top…

  1. Devotional: Since my crisis of faith, (I’m not ready to discuss it but I promise when I am, you will know), I’ve tried to come back to the word. You know, be filled with what is true. I’m no theologian but in the dark with no distractions, somehow words are much easier to absorb. I have no idea why. I will also say, I have to read, re-read and sometimes read again. It helps me. This may not be for you and that is ok.
  2. Meditation: The mind is so powerful. Hone it. Train it properly. Before mediation, my mind would not stop. It did not know how to. It is why I couldn’t sleep. Why I forgot so much. Why I lost so many things and thoughts. Mediation has helped train my brain to become mindful. Mindfulness is probably the only reason why I am able to sit still long enough to write. I can also be aware of the crazy anxiety. Read that again- I said, “be aware” not “my anxiety is gone.” Being aware is a GAME CHANGER. It is only when you are aware that you can but coping mechanisms into effect and they actually help you cope.
  3. Journaling: Let’s just say I avoided this for years. I didn’t see the point because I already knew all my problems, writing them down was going to do what? I now know I was approaching journaling in the wrong manner. To be honest, the only reason I started was to help a friend who began her self-healing work and her counselor wanted her to complete one journal entry before their next session. So, we made a pact and you know me and commitments- I’m all in. I didn’t expect it to benefit me though. When I journal, my problems aren’t plastered on a page, my feelings and thoughts about the problems are. They center around the working solution. Thus, making me mindful of not he problems but the work I need to do to reach the solutions.
  4. Podcast/Audiobooks: These are definitely a couple of my most favorite things. I know I am late to the craze but podcast and audiobooks are amazing. It is like having an inspirational, motivational super smart friend with you all the time! I honestly can’t say enough good things about them. Both vary greatly and can be found on many platforms. Find what works for you and stick to it. If you have never like murder-mystery stories, please don’t try an audiobook in that genre before you go to bed. I will suggest checking your local library for audiobooks though.
  1. Workout: Please note the, ‘sometimes’ above. I don’t always do this. My mornings are for peace and there are times when a great yoga flow and/or muscle building will lend itself to that. Other times it won’t. Now, just because I don’t work out in the morning does not mean I do not work out that day. 9 times out of 10 it happens and the workout is more effective because I didn’t do it in the morning.
  2. Writing: This blog is probably more for me than you. No offense. I love you and really hope in some way this is helpful or entertaining but I need this. I need to write. Hopefully, I can start business planning and business building too, just have to work on me more.

Now, that you know what I do in the mornings. Let me tell you what I most certainly don’t do. 

  1. Laundry
  2. Clean anything
  3. Cook for other people
  4. Plan for other people
  5. Talk to other people
  6. Compare me to other people

That morning time is mine and it is sacred. It is crucial to my evolution and I will not sacrifice it. It took a very long time to get here, physically and mentally. If you are up 2-8 times a night with a child, this may not be your season. If you are working 3 jobs to eat, again, this may not be your season. To that say, seize the moment. If there is a second or 2 of peace-TAKE IT! I hope you find your time and don’t sacrifice it either.

Love you. Mean it. 

The Still of The Morning

I will never forget being pregnant with James and chatting with a friend who just had her third boy. She was imparting mother/wife wisdom and said something to the effect of “I can’t stay up that late because my 5 a.m. alarm comes quick.”

Insert record scratch. I replied, “Why on earth is your alarm set that early? Why do you need to be awake then? Those are unGodly hours!” I’ll never forget how simple her response was. She took a deep breathe looked me dead in my eyes, smiles and said, “Peace. Trust me, you’ll get there.” I continued thinking she was crazy until about 5 months ago. 

As you read in my previous post, things got really really really bad for me and I began the work of healing and putting me back together. Do you know how hard that is to do when you don’t have peace? I mean, almost all of my waking hours were used to take care of other people. When I sat down and looked at my day, what I wanted to happen, what I needed to happen and how to make it work- getting up before my kids and my husband was the only way.

You guys, I kid you not, I was transported back to that conversation and all I could think and feel was the serenity coming from her heart (that I interpreted as insanity in my pre-mom days) when she said, “peace” and I knew that was what I was going to get.

So, turning this into action, I set my phone alarm for 5:30. The first morning I hit snooze a million times and before I knew it Jude was awake. Didn’t work. So, I set my phone alarm for 5:30 and the alarm from my watch, which charges away from my bed, for 5:45. I had to get up and turn off the alarm which made it MUCH harder to get back in bed. It worked but needed improvement.

Fast forward a few weeks of ups and downs and now we have this: Monday-Friday, my phone alarm goes off at 5:15 a.m. because I need a buffer. I can’t just jump out of bed Marry Poppins style at 5:30. I know my strengths. The alarm on my watch goes off at 5:30 a.m. The day before, I put on my clothes, athleisure attire of course, in the bathroom. I stumble from my bed to get my watch, fall into the bathroom and get dressed while I pee.  (Multitasking at its finest, people!) I also turn on lights. It is really hard to get back in bed after that.

I also make sure I am in bed by 10 p.m. This means I have showered, I have on pajamas-not workout clothes-, my hair is wrapped and my skin is moisturized. In Arianna Huffington’s book, Thrive, she delves into the need to prepare your body for sleep. Let’s she just say she knows what she speaks.

Also, my friend was right. There is so much peace in the still of the morning. I mean, even the birds respect it.

I’ll have more on what I actually do with my morning time later.

What is stopping you from getting up early?

Love you. Mean It. 

Self-Care: What That Really Looks Like

Hey Loves!

So, let’s talk about #selfcare. No, really-we need to-because everyone needs it. For so very long, I thought that wasn’t for me. You know, I didn’t have time for an hour-long bath, weekly mani-pedis were not an option. So, I couldn’t participate, right? WRONG. Very very wrong! 

If you ask me, self-care is a fluid movement in which certain practices enable you to be the best you and/or improve yourself. I should copyright that. That was a taste of the awesomeness that comes straight from my head that no one gets to hear because I am in negotiations in tiny dictators 90 percent of the time.

I digress. My apologies.

So, self-care, what does that look like? Well, for starters, it looks different for most. It may be keeping your A/C temps very low because a hot sweaty you is very far from your best you. It could also be being around people who hold you accountable so you don’t do that harming activity.

For me, it is making time to do my nails. It is also investing in me. So, if that is spending $1.99 on a book I want but also carving out the time to read and reflect on said book. It is sometimes making my plate first to ensure I eat. (*see tiny dictators reference above). It is also being aware of my water intake-oh my word! How dehydrated I was! I also make sure I have time with friends and time to myself in the evenings-very small but extremely achievable and effective things that I can do regularly that improve my mood, my health, and my self-esteem. Things that expand my knowledge and encourage me to be more self-aware. 

Also, I tried baths. I even bought a candle. I like them but I can’t every week. It is a lot of water and a lot of cleaning after.

What does self-care look like for you? I’m dying to know.

Love you. Mean it.