How To Embrace + Love The Life You Are Living

Sometimes, I find myself overwhelmed with all the nonsense and noise of the world. Social media makes it so difficult to ignore the good life that all of our friends and family are living. With so much noise surrounding us, it is challenging to think highly of our own lives.

The truth is, we are all in different f*cking places + that is completely okay. Take this time to really embrace where you are and how far you have come. For a while, I felt like my life was crumbling before my eyes. It seemed like everyone around me figured it out and, for some reason, I am stuck at a crossroad.

Welp… It’s about time to get over this sh*t + find some peace within yourself.

How to Embrace the Life you are Living

  1. Recognize you are not the only one feeling like you got the short end of the stick. It’s pretty normal to find that the people you think have it all together – are actually feeling like they are falling apart.
  2. Get over yourself – seriously. In this day and age, we are so self-consumed that it is debilitating. We miss out on opportunity – opportunity to network, to get that new job, to make a new friend, to make a relationship better, whatever else you could be improving. Get out your ass and take a chance that will improve not just your life, but the life of others.
  3. Be okay with being alone. If I learned anything valuable from my job, it’s learning how to be okay with being alone. In this time, I have so much time for self-care and reflection. It’s been the greatest opportunity for me to figure out problems on my own and be 100 percent responsible for my decisions.
  4. Learn to smile + find things to be grateful for. One of the biggest compliments I got this year was from a close colleague that said I always know how to laugh at my own misery – because I do! It’s learning to understand that sh*t happens out of our control. What we do have control over, is the way we respond to our misfortunes. I make every effort to take any negativity and let out positive energy. Yeah, I know I sound like a hippie, but we are what we put into the world, right?!
  5. Understand that it’s okay to live a life others don’t understand. My job has odd hours and requires travel at times, but ultimately, I love what I do. I spent a lot of time feeling like work made me miss out on many opportunities. I’ve grown to realize that I’ve found everything I needed in this life so there is no need to try living a life that wasn’t meant for me.

While I continue learning to embrace the life I have, I hope these tips help you get more comfortable in your own life. Things are hard enough as it is – by accepting how f*cking amazing you are doing, you will keep moving mountains.

How I Stopped Derailing My Own Life (& You Can Too!)

“I don’t need this negativity in my life” – probably my main theme of 2017. Unfortunately, I did have time for it, and half the time I created it. It was the beginning of me derailing my own life and falling into an abyss of negativity.

It’s all too common that you may spend a lot of time trying to figure out where you went wrong and who was to blame for your unhappiness. Well, considering I’ve been there – it’s finally time to cut that sh*t out.

6 ways to stop derailing your amazing life:

Learn to (1) forgive those that never apologized. This one hits home for me the most. There were so many people that I blamed for my unhappiness and felt I deserved apologies from. It became all too consuming to deal with. I had a stroke of realization that there was no need to keep holding on to what was irrelevant. So what if they apologized? It wouldn’t actually change anything.

As humans, we are hell bent to feel like others owe us. In actuality, no one owes us anything. Be responsible for your own happiness. There is no way to achieve it unless you let go of all wrongs. Begin forgiving people that wronged you – with or without their initiated apologies.

Let it go and (2) learn from it. Learn from your mistakes and don’t be the person that repeatedly makes mistakes about the same thing. I would say I am getting better at learning to now repeat the same mistakes in my life. Because of this, I find I am more organized, better prepared, and actually making progress. It’s such a financial, emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual time-suck to not learn from your mistakes. Learn to honor your boundaries and stop making repeated mistakes that keep you stagnant.

(3) Show gratitude each day. I found I took too much of my time focusing on the wrong aspects of my life. It caused me not to appreciate the phone calls my family made to me, the skills I excelled in, and the accomplishments I’ve made thus far.

Showing appreciation for something each day can really change your mindset. A lot of the time we focus hard on the negative and this can be consuming. I challenge you to start focusing on the areas of your life that are great. Positive consumption is much better than the latter and gives you the space and energy you need to tackle your problems.

Please, (4) stop multitasking – that’s why nothing gets completed. I will never ever say that I am good at multitasking. It’s actually the thing I do the worst! I know how things can spiral from multitasking and I continuing to manage my time more effectively working on one thing at a time.

Learn to give a task 100% of your attention and stop multitasking. Multitasking is a recipe for not meeting deadlines, not providing quality work and adding on to your stress.

(5) Keep doing what you love and do it at least twice a week. Over time we forget that we have hobbies and activities that we enjoy. For me, I love writing, painting, and fitness – so I make sure I get it done each week. I found this elevates me more than anything, especially when I am going through a rough patch.

Don’t be hyper-focused on the things that are not fruitful to your happiness. Instead, be gluttonous in what fills your soul and promotes your best version of you.

(6) Be in tune with your f*cking self. And, stop worrying about everyone’s opinions and what they think about what your life. Seriously, stop investing your magic in the wrong people. Spend the amazing energy giving yourself a needed tune up!

This list can go on, but these 6 points are good places to start freeing you from going overboard. Despite your challenges, take advantage of your magic and don’t allow yourself to fall on the wayside.

If you want to add some advice, share it in the comments below!

How To Keep Yourself Motivated To Be A Winter Gym Rat

As a native Californian, living on the East Coast through a winter vortex is the f*cking worst. But despite the weather, I never let it stop me from getting a good workout in for the day. The goal is to stay motivated to work out.

Snow is a challenge and so is the cool winter weather, most of the time between 10 and 30 degrees (totally, not my favorite weather conditions). So how do I continue making sure I make it in the gym? I’ll share a few tips to beat the wintry gym blues so you will never be too far to dead-lift or hit a spin class.

It’s all about scheduling for the week. 

You haven’t truly been working on your goals until you’ve invested in a planner, or something to keep you organized through the week. My planner is my everything y’all! I list everything from what I plan on meal prepping for the week to what my workout focuses are each day. Get a good planner and use it. I promise it makes such a difference in the level of commitment you have to sculpting and toning your body.

Mix it up – live a little.

Nothing is more boring than doing the same sh*t everyday – so why not mix it up? My gym offers a ton of great classes to supplement my regular gym membership. This gives me the flexibility to switch it up often within my workout schedule for the week. My splits sound something like: Monday – Leg Day, Tuesday – Yoga, Wednesday – Personal Training, Thursday Back and Shoulders, Friday – Barre, and Sunday – Core and Abs. I always reevaluate if I want to try anything different and my options are endless.

Don’t limit yourself to just the gym.

The great thing about working out is that you can do it anywhere! Now, I know it’s winter and maybe you don’t feel up to being outdoors but there are some alternatives. I love getting a great core workout done in my very own living room. Sun salutations in the morning get my body stretched and ready for the day, so I find these helpful. I also recommend meeting up with a friend a few times a month or hiring a great personal trainer. There is nothing like having someone to motivate you and try out new workout routines with.

Motivated to treat yo’self.

I read a great book called “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg and an important component of developing a habit is the reward factor. The habit you are trying to create is getting your ass up to work out on your schedule. In order to motivate yourself, find something that is a treat for your self-discipline.

I like to reward myself at the end of each week with new active gear, whether it be a pair of shoes or a comfy active sweater it works for me – especially in the cold. This motivates me more the following week because I’ll have new attire to sport at the gym. It’s literally a win-win!

Get a mantra together!

If you couldn’t tell, my first mantra is “Living my best f*cking life!” I also wake up each morning and tell myself “I f*ck with you.”

It sounds ridiculous, but I generally start off having a great morning, which leads to a great work out, and ends with a great day. Set the tone for your mornings and follow through all day. This really helps to get my day started on the right track and no matter what the weather is I’m motivated.

There isn’t much of a secret to staying motivated in the winter. Honestly, it all boils down to how committed you are to reaching your f*cking goals. It’s as simple as that. Put in the work to do what you need to do to keep being the gym rat you’ve always been.

Product Spotlight: Kyra’s Shea Medley

A few months ago, I caught a whiff of the most pleasant smell; it was a sweet, tropical aroma. I immediately asked why he was smelling so good – Kyra’s Shea Medley.

Before I get into the product, let me give you some background as to why I opt for a butter products. My hair absorbs everything in it’s path, like a sponge. Because my hair does what it pleases, I have noticed that a product that is thicker will typically leave my hair feeling right – that’s when my hair is on it’s best behavior.

Okay, now back to the point…

..that was the day it became my new staple products – and you know I am not much of a product junkie. This butter felt smooth, thick, and easily spread. On my 4b4c hair, the product did not absorb easily and maintained its purpose throughout the day.

There are many things that I love about this product. For starters, this product is $9.99 in stores and is purchased online for as little as $5.99. If you reside in California, you can find this line at local Targets and some beauty supply stores; there is also another store in Las Vegas, NV that sells Kyra’s Shea Medley.

Each jar has a different aroma and also has multi-usage. Because the product is for hair and skin there are many uses – moisturizing skin, face cream, leave-in conditioner, lip balm, hand lotion and ect.

The most important tidbit about this product is that the ingredients are all-natural! I do my best to stay away from products that have too much going on and knowing that this butter cream is au naturale makes it a godsend.

If you want to purchase this product, head here:
https://kyrasheamedleys.com/

Black Wall Street: Support Black Business

Here is a much needed history lesson, one that strays from American textbook from back in the day. I’m talking about a real history lesson on the terrorist attacks of Black Wall Street.

Let me start by mentioning this: In Black America, the Black consumer market has exceeded $1 trillion dollars per year. We are a extremely powerful market, not only in the power of the black dollar, but in the power of being trendsetters for major companies and society. But, did you know about 2% of the $1 trillion dollars each year in invested in our own black communities?

How is it that we hold so much economic drive and power, yet our communities struggle to support one another?

Flashback to the era of three Black Wall Streets (yes, three). The most well-known black wall street was located in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Due to the Jim Crow laws, segregation made this district thrive. There were post offices, black salons and barbers, black grocery stores and clothing stores, and even had their own successful black school systems. This was a prominent time in history when Blacks were doing their thing. This community had so much power that white Americans felt so threatened by it, they bombed the community, killing thousands of hard working people, men, women, and children. In a textbook, this is called the 1921 Race Riots of Tulsa; in reality, this is called terrorism.

The other (not as known) Black Wall Streets were located in Durham, North Carolina and Richmond, Virginia (Jackson Ward). These too have fallen from the anger of white supremacy.

Here are a few reasons you need to shop black:

  1. Supporting black business helps to circulate a dollar that once upon a time lasted months in the black community. Today the black dollar last 6 hours before it’s in the hands of mainstream corporations.
  2. Black businesses bring in more black jobs! These jobs in turn help t secure the financial future for the black community.
  3. This is an opportunity to begin creating wealth for ourselves instead of continue to create wealth for those that keep us oppressed.

Today, I challenge you all to start purchasing from today’s black businesses so we can begin to create wealth in our communities. I stumbled across a directory that may fancy some of you, so check it out!

2018 Will Pop Severely

I don’t know about you but 2017 was rough as f*ck. Don’t misconstrue my statement as a (complete) negative. I appreciated the hell out of these last 365 days!

My experiences were the epitome of my current successes. I started the year off with bright eyes, a positive outlook, and loads of opportunities. New love brewed, self-love grew. I spoke up for myself, enjoyed my personal life again, made adventures, and opened my heart to new friendships. I definitely won’t act like there wasn’t frustration, tears shed, epic fights, and self-doubt too. Despite the good fights, 2017 was a year of vulnerability.

2018 is going up and when I tell you it’s going to pop, it’s the truth! Here are some lessons learned from 2017.

On Self

  1. Acknowledge and own your boundaries. Don’t allow others in your space that do not honor you in abundance. You owe yourself boundaries in your life, your relationships, and your career. 2017 made this the most crucial part of ending my year strong.
  2. Treat yo self! In moderation, it’s great to treat yourself. I say this because I took treating myself to an extreme and spent the end of the year on the struggle bus. Learning to responsibly treat yourself would be a lesson to learn sooner than later. Award yourself for your hard work, but not to a point that it cripples you in the long run.
  3. Work a little each day on your aspirations. Yeah, we all f*cking work and have lives, bills, financial issues, and whirlwinds of f*ckery that happen through the year. Everyone has some sh*t they are going through, so don’t use your life as an excuse to put off working on your dreams. Be hungry for it and really make time for yourself. You make time for whats the most important to you – Netflix, the ‘Gram, or your f*cking goals.
  4. Be dope and be humble. A past manager of mine once told me that I needed to give myself more credit for my success. From that day, I made an effort to celebrate my dopeness and continue to be open to learning more.
  5. Trust your process. Stop trying to catch up with everyone around you. Stop comparing yourself to everyone around you. Fall in love with your f*cking process. It may be slow, it may be excruciatingly difficult, it may feel like your time isn’t going to come – but if you do what I said in the previous points, you will make your process work.
  6. Stop feeling the need to explain yourself! Like I continue to say, you don’t owe anyone an explanation, just live your life!

On Work

  1. Understanding and condoning are two separate things. There is a level of respect that you have for others and for yourself. Please don’t confuse understanding for condoning. Understand your colleagues, peers, and higher ups. But NEVER let understanding be the source of condoning certain behavior that is unacceptable. When it comes to you, they better put some respect on it!
  2. Work is work is work – so keep it work. I know I’ve told you this is the biggest challenge I face. It is easy to be invested in the work you do, especially if you love the work you do. What I am working on, is separating my work life and personal life. Make an effort to leave work where it is. You have one life to live so make it amazing as f*ck.

On Love

  1. Honest communication is the key! I know I said it before, but you have to be honest in your relationships. If there is something that bothers you, speak up. Don’t let it boil and fester, it will create more issues in the long run. Understand that no matter how much it might hurt, be open and honest with your SO – even if that means breaking up. Ultimately, honesty will keep your relationship growing for the long term.
  2. Protect your privacy. I’m a venter, I have trouble with keeping my thoughts and feelings to myself. When the struggle is real and you need to vent, have a close friend to be there for you. The entire world does not need to know your f*cking issues. Keep who you vent to at a minimum, then you won’t feel the need to explain yourself – that is a no-no.
  3. Sh*t ain’t easy. Relationships take work – hard work from both sides. Yes, there will be excitement, spontaneity, and laughs, but there will also be disagreements, stagnancy, and routine. This is all normal, but avoid the latter. Be willing to work on creating more fun and adventure – it won’t be all the time, but it will give you both stories and memories with one another.
  4. #RelationshipGoals. Stop worrying about everyone else’s relationships. Stop comparing you current relationships to your last. Make room for your relationship to grow and have your own set of goals together. A couple that grinds together, shines together. Point blank period.

On Family

  1. If your parents are in your life, whether its one, two, or maybe you have five, love them to the end! They may not be perfect and have quirks but remember they are your parents. They did the best they KNEW how to do to care for you, support you, celebrate with you, punish you, feel with you. I never really held this so high until a great friend of mine lost her mother. If you have a parent in your life, put aside your grudges, let go of their mistakes and love them with no condition. I’ve watched people through the year lose their parents and wish they had that extra day, that extra “I love you,” that extra chance. Love them with no condition.
  2. Set boundaries on toxic family members. No one has time for toxic family members. If they are putting you down, making you feel like sh*t, gossiping on your name, then they need to go. Silence is the best answer to toxic family members.
  3. Take advantage of the family that does inspire and build you up. I have a close knit group of family members that make going home to visit worth every bit of it! It’s the perfect time for refreshing and connecting with my ties. I take advantage of every opportunity I have at home to spoil the sh*t out of my sister, take my parents on dates, see my baby cousins and big cousins, and visit with my amazing aunts!

It is 2018! Make the most of your 2018. You will make mistakes, make memories, build friendships, get in tune with yourself, love yourself that much more, rid of toxic relationships, cry, you will think you lost and get back up again. 2018 will severely pop for you.

So here’s to your new year! (Clink)*

 

Week 1: Why Should I Go Natural?

Week 1: IDENTIFY WHY IS IT THAT YOU WANT TO GO NATURAL

Going natural is a commitment, it is a journey that will have you in tears some nights but will pay out in the end. Ask yourself: “Why?”

Why is it worth it to put in all this hard work and effort to be natural? When we think more closely about why we want to do something, it is more enlightening and gives us a better start so we always remember why we are going through this change to begin with.

I see many women, and men, that make these commitments to go natural and eventually fall off within a few weeks. It is my goal to make sure you are identifying the why so you can stay on target with fulfilling your natural hair goals.

Make the commitment to yourself to get to your goals; it will be a tough start and trust me, it will suck, but in the end it is all worth it! Not only do you need to make the commitment to yourself, but you need to put your commitment out to the world. Once you have people that are aware of your commitment, you will be more inclined to take the necessary steps to act on it. I want you to get to your hair goals, so let’s get it together!

Having natural hair goals are also extremely important for the journey. You have to have some idea of where you are going so you can make a plan to get there. I think this is safe to say with anything you do, whether it be working out, getting a promotion, acing a class, and etc.

This week, I challenge you to give reason why you want to take this journey and what your overall goals are.

There are many reasons that we “go” natural and every reason is completely valid because it’s your own. So let’s take Week 1 easy and start with this.

Post your reasons for going natural and your long term goals! I would love to hear them and help you get started!

Natural Chicks That Rocked the Double Bun

I am barely noticing this double bun craze, a look that takes me back to the 90’s when barrettes and beads were how my mom styled my hair.

The tricky part of this style is rocking it without looking like you are just getting into 3rd grade. Here are some ladies that did their thing with the double bun!

  1. With a bold lip. Add a splash of color on the lips and you are ready to roll!

2. Scary Spice in ya life! To all the ladies that can get away with a wash and go, this is a great alternative!

3. The baby hairs though. I know there are some naturals out there that keep their baby hairs smoothed and ready for action. You too deserve to try the double bun,

4. Wavy, baby. Not a wash and go gal? No biggie! Just let the back do as it pleases, or prep it in a braid-out or simple twist-out.

5. Pop of color. Some of you are on the adventurous side and already have some color, now just werk it! If you don’t have color treated hair, I recommend temporary hair color (comes in spray form, too!)

Share with me your double bun hairstyles!

Colorism: Light Skin, Loose Curls, and Natural Hair

Colorism in the natural hair community is nothing but poison to our society and only encourges Eurocentric beauty standards that should be challenged.

I am a lover of all natural hair and am at a point that I don’t really care too much about this hair typing nonsense (what a great way to divide a community, wouldn’t you say?)

While knowing your hair type can be useful, I believe it does more harm than good to the natural hair community in regards to further separating us, an already broken group.

Before you raise an eyebrow, let me really tell you what I’m talking about.

I read this great article in the Huffington Post; this brought up a valid point:

When people refer to natural hair, the beauty standard is for looser curls (3A-3C) and light complexion is generally represented with this texture.

My experience with this phenomena has elevated the way I view natural hair in the black community. I remember walking into the vet with my puppy, Apollo, and the woman behind the counter was so intrigued by my hair texture. She complained that she could never get her hair to cooperate like mine, then went about saying I was the only dark-skinned girl she ever seen with good hair. You could only imagine the rant that was going through my mind.

The thing is, my hair does as it pleases. Some days my hair is more curly, some days my hair is more frizzy. Other days my hair is kinky and uncooperative. Ultimately, my hair is my hair.

But by no means do I think my hair is good hair; if anything I believe my hair is well-suited for me. It took me years to get aclimated to the fact that my hair is beautiful, each and every kinky and twisted strand. Unfortunately, I did not grow up loving my hair; I grew up criticizing how I could look beautiful enough. With the movement spreading across the nation and overseas, more and more women (young and old) are learning to love on their own terms.

In addition to hair, there is this concept of colorism, another gross and unnecessary argument. I’m unsure of why society believes that only light-skinned women have a certain type of hair texture, length, and color compared to darker complected women. I’ve seen lighter complected women with my hair texture and vice versa. And how beautiful is that to see the differences; all these combinations we have to

What bothers me the most about this new natural hair beauty standard is yet  another divide in the natural hair community that was initially intended to promote self-love and self-awareness. I decided to embrace my natural hair as a means of freedom. Doing so has increased my self-confidence and self-awareness. Not only did I grow as a person, but I created my own standard for beauty:

Beauty (be-yuu-tee) noun: A state of being most natural and uncompromising to society.

There are so many beautiful textures of healthy hair out there, to categorize them only does more harm than good when trying to unify the black and kinky-curly community. What is your definition of beauty?

Deep Conditioning 101: The Do’s and Don’ts

Natural hair tends to be more vulnerable to breakage in African Americans and some POC, which is why deep conditioning treatments are a must-have in any naturalista’s hair regimen. Deep conditioning allows moisture to penetrate the hair shaft and keep hair healthy, shiny, and slayed. There are levels to deep conditioning and we need you to get this down!

 

Do: Listen to your hair and deep condition at least once a week.

By deep conditioning once a week, you are giving your hair the nutrients it needs to remain moisturized and strong. Your hair undergoes a lot of trouble through the week, so having a nice deep conditioning treatment will revitalize your hair.

Don’t: Leave a deep conditioner in longer than the directions ask.

Your hair will only absorb so much deep conditioner. Keeping it in longer than instructed will do no more justice to your strands than leaving it in as long as the instructions say.

Do: Focus on the ends of your hair.

Focusing the deep conditioner at the ends of your hair will help in the long run. The ends of your hair are the oldest parts and the most vulnerable to breakage. By focusing on the ends, you are ensuring strength is built for your hair and you are avoiding those nasty split ends.

Don’t: Spend your coins on hype.

It is great to have a good recommended product to help you out with deep conditioning. But, a price tag doesn’t mean much if you do not have the appropriate ingredients for your hair to flourish.

Do: Use heat or steam.

In order for moisture to effectively reach into the hair shaft, open the shaft with heat so the hair can capture the moisture. This is a crucial step to ensuring your deep conditioning process goes smooth.

What are some tips that you have for deep conditioning your natural hair?