Let’s Check-in:

As I was brainstorming what to write about this week, Courtney B. asked me two questions, 

“Where are you right now, as in mentally?”

-and- 

“What is something you’ve been thinking about often?”

So, here’s my response: 

I am actually in a great place right now. I’m surprisingly happy, excited and feeling empowered/motivated…mostly, but there’s the occasional anxiety, stress, and fear. However, the other emotions overpower the negative ones.

I say “surprisingly” because there are so many things going on in the world that are out of my control. However, I’ve decided to focus on the things that are in my control, and I just roll with the punches on anything else that comes my way. I’ve been working on not overthinking or stressing, and just living in every moment as it is. Nothing more, nothing less. That has given me a sense of peace. I am content. 

I’ve also found myself grateful for the small things more. 

Like a sushi date with my boyfriend on the back of his truck. 

Like being able to work outside while the sun is shining and  

Like being able to drive to my moms house whenever I want to (I haven’t lived this close to home since I graduated high school). 

But I’m also grateful for the bigger things that I took for granted before 

Like being able to pay all of my bills on-time 

Like being in good health 

Like having a strong support system. 

To the second question, I have been thinking about MANY THINGS! I’m thinking about new passion projects that I am very very excited to share with you all. I am thinking about ways to empower others and support our community, which is partially being done by showcasing and supporting black businesses on this blog and in real life.

Although we are in a very uncertain time, I am very excited for my future. I’m excited to see what’s to come for me, my family, my friends, and my community. I’m excited to see how far we’ll go. 

Because of this extremely determined state that I am in, I am the hardest on myself right now, so some days I have to give myself gratitude. You shouldn’t wait for praise from others. Give yourself the credit that you deserve. Pour all of the energy and love you give to others, into yourself sometimes, because you deserve it. 

Lastly, be kind to yourself. Something that I have been learning to be okay with is imperfection. If you are “perfect” at everything, you have no room to grow. There is no up from there. You have nothing to look forward to. Also, some days you are going to be at 100%, you are going to feel motivated, determined, and happy. But some days you are going to feel lazy, unproductive, and you’re just going to want to sit on the couch, watch movies, and eat pizza; and that is okay too. Self-care days and moments that you are working at a slow pace, are not signs of defeat. They are necessary in order to work at the speed you work at every other day of the month. 

Just don’t let those days keep you down. If you have 2 days this month where you’re “not-so-productive”, guess what? You have 28-29 more days to be on your sh** and that my friend is a win. You should feel proud of that. How much has that improved from last month? From the last six months? From the last year? Recognize that progression and applaud yourself for that. Keep growing, you are doing amazing! 

My two goals/self-care practices this month are: 

#2 : To read 30 minutes everyday for my pleasure. Right now, I am reading “We’re Going to Need More Wine” by Gabrielle Union. It is best paired with a glass of wine and a burning candle. I will be reading “Becoming” by Michelle Obama next month. I was also gifted her “guided journal for discovering your voice,” that I am very excited to start working in.

#2 : Complete the Toffi (I’ll explain more about what Toffi is in a later post) July 30 mile challenge. I was challenged by a friend to run a total of 30 miles this month. It is definitely holding me accountable. 

“Where are you right now, as in mentally?” and what are your July goals? Let me know in the comments!!

LIVE.LAUGH.LOVE yourself first. Until next time. Mwauh 💋 -Alex

In My Bag

The month of May is filled with recognizing and bringing awareness to things like Star Wars, nurses, teachers, chocolate chips, masturbation. pets, endangered species, smiles, pizza parties, childhood poverty, mental health and much, much more. Some observances are for a day, some a week and some for a month. You can search the internet for corresponding dates and information related to each subject area that interests you.

Today is Red Nose Day (https://rednoseday.org). Last year my children and I purchased red noses from Walgreens in support of efforts to shine a light on and provide resources for children in need (https://www.walgreens.com/topic/promotion/rednoseday.jsp ).

This year…well you know: Coronavirus.

Mental Health America (mhanational.org) provides a toolbox and information related to COVID-19 and mental health. You can be screened online and take advantage of the Toolkit they have available. A section that I can relate to, because planning and being prepared gives me peace of mind, is Realize What You Can Control. During times of chaos and uncertainty I like to surround myself with things I feel I can rely on, and I tend to focus on what I can do to alleviate, or better yet, prevent what may cause me stress or anxiety. For this purpose, I keep certain essentials on hand as well as nourish my spirit, mind, and body to be ready for whateva..

I would like to share with you what’s currently in heavy rotation in my household and/or in my “bag”:

Plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables (raw, cooked or juiced)

Water (Spring or filtered, not distilled or purified)

A book. I’m always reading at least one book. Right now, I’m rereading parts of Queen Afua’s Sacred Woman: A Guide to Healing the Feminine Body, Mind, and Spirit.

Herbal supplements to boost and/or maintain immune health: VS-C, Trigger Immune, Defense Maintenance. (https//www.NaturesSunshine.com, using sponsor number 1049275, will allow you to create an account and be charged the discounted member price). My children and I take 2 of each, twice a day, for 12 days, twice a year. Feel free to contact me for information about how and why I take those.

Silver Shield, colloidal silver gel and liquid; better than hand sanitizer because it is not supposed to kill beneficial bacteria, which we need. Provides antiviral, antibacterial, immune support. I also use it for wound care (cuts, scrapes, burns, bites).

The other herbal supplements and essential oils pictured are used as needed for allergy related symptoms, nasal and chest congestion, insomnia, pain, headache, and muscle ache. I order from Nature’s Sunshine because I’ve used them for over 7 years, I like the promotions and discounts offered. When it comes to herbal supplements and essential oils, they are not all created equal. It’s important to know what you’re getting when you are using them topically or internally. Research the company; can you trace the origin of the products? Do you know other people that have a good history with them? Look at several reviews, from different sources.

I order my bulk herbs (for teas, rinses, herbal baths) from Mountain Rose Herbs. I’ve also purchased some of their essential oils.

I keep something to cover my head, never know when i’ll need it to add color or style, for protection (from sun, wind, debris, dust, pollen, energies) or for warmth, I can tie a head wrap but I love the convenience of being able to throw something up there like a Grace Eleyae, Ayana print Turban. (https://www.graceeleyae.com)

Masks, masks, and more masks. I have handmade by me and handmade by others masks, filtered and unfiltered masks, disposable and washable masks, adult and child sized masks, uncomfortable and not as uncomfortable masks. All masks are not created equal either. Familiarize yourself with the correct way to utilize masks and the risks of carbon dioxide toxicity from wearing them for prolonged periods of time.

My stones, of course

…and wine.

If you stay ready, you don’t need to get ready

-not me

Thump out!

Smilin’ For What

“If you have only one smile in you, give it to the people you love. Don’t be surly at home, then go out in the street and start grinning ‘Good morning’ at total strangers.”

Maya Angelou

I used to give my smiles away much more freely and willingly when I was a child. Compliments on it were constant. People loved to see it, so I gave them what they wanted. What they expected, whether they deserved it or not. As I aged my smile was flashed much more selectively. You had to work hard to earn a genuine one from me.

Today I smile because I’m happy with myself, at peace with my situations and content with my space. Being thankful and grateful for everything. Understanding the lessons and blessings in “good” and “bad” situations. The act of smiling actually has the ability to activate neurotransmitter and neuropeptide release. In other words, we can fake a smile and fool our body into thinking we’re in a better mood than we are, which in turn helps us feel better (fake it till you make it).

Right now, I don’t have to fake anything in that regard. These kittens that I rescued have been a source of smiles, laughs and love. I can’t help but smile, even when I’m fussing about the sneak attack of my feet as I walk through the hallway. Things you hear us (animal scientists, biologists, animal lovers) say about therapeutic affects animals/pets have on mental health conditions (stress, anxiety, depression) are true.

*May is designated as National Pet Month to celebrate the symbiotic relationship between people and their pets.

In the midst of a pandemic, complete with possible food shortages and resource scarcity, decreased employment and homeschooling, I found four new reasons to smile…

…and a month later, just when I thought my heart would explode with feline love, another kitten emerged from my shed.

Somehow, she was not detected during the kitten rescue 6 weeks ago. Not somehow, animals are resilient and have amazing instinctual abilities. My children left the shed open and I guess she thought she would make a run for it (past my dog who patrols the yard). Everything about the birth, retrieval, fostering, them surviving and thriving is a miracle. I couldn’t be happier for them to all be reunited and alive; I’m just as honored to have been chosen to be their human mother.

Their biological mother lost her life protecting them and hid them where she thought or knew they would be safe. I take my duties as caregiver extremely serious. My skills and talents of animal intensive care and my ability to administer TLC (Thumper Loving Care) have served them well. Soon, some of them will be going to new homes and I know I’ll be sad to see them leave…but for now I’m smiling.

Now, when you see my smile…

It is organic, intentional and purposeful.

I’m expressing admiration, adoration, pride, pleasure and/or love.

I’m recalling a joyous and memorable event, feeling or thought.

I’m being my true, fabulous, shining self.

I’m doing what I love.

It’s the only outlet left to allow the overflow of joy within me to show itself.

I challenge you to find 3 reasons to smile each day; morning, noon and night.

  1. My son was born today!
  2. The kittens are so cute when they’re sleep!
  3. I’m Thumper!

See, not difficult at all!!!

Take a minute, be still, look around or close your eyes and look inside . What’s the first thing that comes to mind?..be thankful for it and smile.